Originally posted on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 6/20/13
Having secured its prey, the black snake squeezes it to death before eating it. The body is coiled around the prey, tightening until respiration stops and suffocation occurs. — Encyclopedia Britannica Jeff Locke’s ground-ball rate is 6th in the NL. Jeff Locke is a black snake. You watched him on the mound Wednesday night in the Pirates’ 2-1 loss at Cincinnati. He pitched seven scoreless innings despite allowing runners into scoring position in three of the first four frames. He also retired 10 of his last 11 hitters to finish strongly and hand off the Pirates’ one-run lead to the bullpen. Perhaps most impressively, Locke held the destructive 2-through-5 hitters of the Reds’ lineup 1-for-12 on the evening. All four batters have posted above-league-average numbers this season, but the Pirates’ young lefty kept them all but silent. The Bucs could not close the deal for him, though, and a diamond-cutter up the middle by Brandon Phillips off Vin Mazzaro gave Cincinnati an important walkoff win in the 13th. Locke did not receive any help from his offense. The Pirates’ lineup went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position, stranding 14 baserunners while scoring only one. That one only arrived because Starling Marte was able to speed to third base for his 5th triple and Russell Martin ricocheted a comebacker off pitcher Bronson Arroyo to score him. That was all, and Pittsburgh’s league-worst average with runners in scoring position falls to .222 on the season. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker combined to go 0-for-10, and the Bucs hit .196 Wednesday night. But it takes two, and the Reds’ bullpen pitched seven shutout innings with just three hits allowed. Cincinnati tied the game when Jay Bruce homered to right field off Jason Grilli, the first homer the Pirates’ closer allowed all season. Grilli: "I can sit here and crucify myself but everything’s been working pretty good for me so I’m not going to sulk tonight.” — Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) June 20, 2013 But let’s get back to my bad Locke/Snake analogy. Locke stranded five baserunners, picked caught one stealing in the 3rd inning and drew a 1st-inning-ending double play. Once again, Locke was not overpowering as he struck out just three Reds hitters and walked three, but he buckled down to get 11 groundouts and 1 flyout and keep Cincinnati off the scoreboard for seven innings. This year, he has held hitters to a .105 average with runners in scoring position. Locke on becoming one of best starters in NL: "Some stuff gets brought to your attention, inevitably. It doesn't really do much for me." — Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) June 20, 2013 Locke’s ERA is down to 2.01 on the season, third-best in baseball. Normally, I would maintain that his run-prevention is due to regress in his first full MLB season. Normally, I would say his .231 BABIP and 86% strand rate cannot be maintained over the whole year. Normally, I would point out his ERA the rest of the way will run closer to his current FIP of 3.78 than to 2.01. But I am on Team Locke now and will do no such thing. He is a snake who suffocates his prey.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

LeBron James says he’s in same class as Michael Jordan

Report: Some Texans players have already 'checked out' on coaches

WATCH: Washington scores against USC with trick play

Andre Johnson, Colts down Texans in key division win

Claude Julien: Illegal hit on Patrice Bergeron warrants ‘further consequences’

Foster’s return to game after head injury raises questions


Lions owner Martha Ford is not happy with NFL about blown call on MNF

New details on Duke Williams dismissal

Baylor’s RG3 statue vandalized by TCU fans

FSU’s Dalvin Cook looking good to play Saturday against Miami

Rangers survive war of attrition in Game 1 vs Blue Jays

NBA Players Union to fund cardiac screenings for retired players

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Matt Hasselbeck was ‘on his death bed’ before Texans game

WATCH: Jets' Burmistrov lays dirty hit on Bruins' Bergeron

Report: Cowboys ban filming offense in practice with Patriots next on schedule

Maryland HC Randy Edsall responds on Twitter to firing reports

Pacquiao says he is in talks with Mayweather about rematch

Wisconsin looks to bounce back against Nebraska

Jack Del Rio: Raiders will go after Peyton Manning, want to ‘take him down’

Charles Barkley will guest star on 'The NFL Today'

Week 5 NFL power rankings

Poor Royals grounds crew member gets eaten by tarp

Vin Scully to miss the entire postseason; will return in 2016

Colin Kaepernick’s contract structure protects team from overpaying struggling QB

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Week 5 NFL power rankings

Vin Scully to miss the entire postseason

Putin celebrates birthday by scoring seven goals in hockey game

"Friday Night Lights" writer calls Chip Kelly a fraud

Women in sports this week: Is this 2015 or 1965?

Three reasons each AL team can win the pennant

Garrett addresses Hardy's comments about Gisele

Five outrageous predictions for NFL Week 5

Rex makes players do push-ups in practice after penalty calls

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker