The Bad Jeff Locke came out to play Tuesday, issuing five walks and allowing five runs, four earned, in three innings as the Pirates lost 6-4.
The Bucs did hit three home runs, with Russell Martin hitting a solo shot in the second, Jordy Mercer leading off with one in the third, and Starling Marte hitting a two-run jack in the seventh. But there's only so much you can do when your starting pitcher makes a mess of things. Locke left the bases loaded without allowing a run in the first, a prelude of what was to come. In the second, he gave up two runs after allowing a walk and a single to the first two batters, and then in the fourth, he allowed three more after walking his first two batters in that inning. Two of those runs came in on a soft liner by Adam Wainwright. That got Locke replaced by Brandon Cumpton, but the damage had already been done.
Three of Locke's five August starts were pretty good, but his game log reveals an increasing tendency to walk batters, with five tonight, six against the Brewers two weeks ago and four against the Tigers on August 11. The Pirates can't afford more starts like this, and as respectable a season as Locke has had so far, it may be time for the Bucs to plug in Cumpton in his place.
Well, anyway. Bright side: John Holdzkom made his big-league debut in the ninth and struck out the side while throwing 96 MPH, with all three batters striking out swinging. If this were 2010, in a game I didn't care if the Pirates won, I'd be excited.