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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reggie Bush on NFL future: ‘I’m not retiring’

Derek Fisher blasts Rondo over triangle offense criticism

Report: Marshawn Lynch hasn't spent any playing money

Ex-King says he could do 'much better job' than George Karl

Trainer thought Thomas Davis would not play in Super Bowl

Todd Gurley named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Durant, Westbrook on loss to Warriors: We're not scared

Report: Eagles interested in bringing back Nick Foles

Report: Manning hinted to teammates he plans to retire

Barry Sanders shares thoughts on Megatron retirement talk

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Cam Newton doesn't disappoint with Super Bowl outfit

Stephen Curry to serve as guest drummer for Panthers

Charlie Sheen tweets advice for Johnny Manziel

Cardale Jones predicts he will play in Super Bowl

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Marcin Gortat fires back at critic on Twitter

WATCH: Kerr told Warriors he was happy to have close game

Broncos could have tough decision with franchise tag

WATCH: Steph Curry does 'Dab' on court on eve of Super Bowl

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker