Sunday, April 8, 2012

Phillies@Pirates Series Recap 4/5-4/8/2012

Boy it's great to have baseball back again, even if we had to start it out by being crushed by the Phillies....

Wait. You say we took two of three?

Oh s**t!

The Pirates opened the season on April 5th against Roy Halladay. Bedard got the start and he threw darts. The offense...showed up to PNC Park a couple days late.


Karstens got the start on Saturday. He threw 6 innings giving up an earned run. It was the standard Jeff Karstens start--nothing fancy, just a guy going out there throwing strikes. You know what you are going to get out of Karstens every single time, he is invaluable.

It didn't look like the Pirates were going to get a run, until the Phillies afforded them one. The Pirates scored on a passed ball. It looked like Cliff Lee had the runner at home, but he couldn't handle the throw that was....right at his glove..

The bullpen did solid work, and the night's events culminated in an Alex Presley at bat.

Presley came to bat with runners on 1st and 3rd. In a 2-2 count, Presley hit a slow roller to the right side. Initially, it looked like Polanco was going to cut off the grounder. If he had, the outcome might have been different. Instead, the ball rolled all the way to Rollins at deep short. Rollins fielded it cleanly and fired a throw at first...

Too late.

Presley and the Pirates walked off and moved to .500 at 1-1.

McDonald got the start on Sunday afternoon against the Phils' Vance Worley. McDonald tossed 6 innings of  2 run ball, a welcome sight after hearing about all of the "dead arm" speculation during spring training.

Other good news. Pedro Alvarez (AKA K-Dro, E-Dro, Disappointmentthusfar-dro) hit a moon shot. His solo shot in his second at bat against Vance Worley would have rolled in the river had it not hit the back wall of the river walk. The homer was both encouraging, as it may be a sign of things to come, and depressing, because it shows just what we are missing when Pedro isn't performing like he knows he can.

I actually thought J Mac should have tossed the 7th inning, but Hurdle disagreed. He brought Jared Hughes on who proceeded to give up a couple of runs.

But Casey McGehee wasn't about to let 3 runs get away of a Pirates win. After Alvarez struck out and still got on base (maybe things were just going his way today), McGehee delivered a bomb off of the right field wall, just feet from leaving the yard.

Matt Hague also had his first hit, and his first RBI in the bottom of the 8th to tie the ball game with two outs. Clutch first hit for Mr. Hague.

The pen, once again, did good work.

The bottom of the ninth saw Casey McGehee come to the plate and blast yet another double, this time into the left center field gap.

After things played out, pinch runner Josh Harrison ended up on third, and McCutchen stepped to the plate with two outs. And Charlie Manuel sat on his ass.

“I didn't want to load the bases and I didn't want him to pitch against a lefty.”

Oh Charlie...that makes literally no sense. It might be time for you to hang up your cleats, boat shoes, or whatever the hell kind of kicks you wear on the bench. I'm convinced you have no clue what is going on on the field.

Let's think this out. If you walk McCutchen, you face Walker. No reason to stop there with a base still open. You walk Neil. Then you get to the Pirates pitchers spot (due to a double switch earlier). The Pirates have one guy on the bench, that's Rod Barajas. He hasn't been impressive whatsoever, except for his double  in Friday nights' thriller. 

So you wouldn't have been pitching against a lefty, and WTF does it matter if the bases are loaded? If McCutchen gets a hit you're going to lose. If Barajas had gotten a hit, you're going to lose. The ONLY difference would have been that a walk would have scored the winning run. Bad decision Charlie.

Anyway, Cutch cracked one off of the center field wall to end the ball game. 

Hell of a day for Cutch with three hits. 

This team feels a lot like the Pirates of early 2011. They are pitching very solid right now and finding ways to grind out wins. This is good, because they are of course winning. This is bad, because it probably isn't sustainable. But I won't talk about sustainability too much yet, it's only the first week of the season.

2 down, 80 to go. The Pirates are 2-1, one game above .500. 

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