Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Game 41 Recap: Nationals 4, Pirates 2

Well that sucked. I was out of my apartment for the 8th and 9th inning so I can't attest to what happened, but from what I gathered from following the game on twitter it's that when you come in and give up a bomb on your first pitch that is going to suck.

Jose Ascanio (who just came on to the roster) came in relief of Paul Maholm with a runner on first in the bottom of the seventh. Danny Espinosa went deep. 4-2. Game over.

Some quick thoughts:

-Paul threw a pretty good game. Early he gave up some long flyouts but as we have seen so far this season he really settled down after the first couple of innings. He absolutely cruised through the middle innings and one point retired 13 straight batters. He went 6.1 innings and gave up only four hits and three runs (one of the runs charged was on the Espinosa home runs) and he struck out seven. He, once again, got no run support so taht didn't change.

-Although the Pirates only scored two runs it was not becuase the offense was bad. I thought the offense was much better against a pretty John Lannan. The Pirates got 10 hits, but unlike how it has usually been, they were putting the ball in play and getting hits through the entire game and not just one inning where they look amazing and then looking inept the other eight innings of the game. The position players struck out only five times and they had opportunities to score runs. I will take it.

-Just becuase you have opportunities to score runs doesn't mean you are going to score runs. Take, for instance, the fourth inning. Walk, single, double and no runs scored. Unreal. Brandon Wood walked to lead off the inning. Tries to go to third on a Chris Snyder single and get hosed. He got in under the tag it was a pretty bad base running decision. Cedeno (!) doubled to put runners on second and third with one out and Maholm coming up. Ok, infield was back, just put it in play and you might score a run.

Let me preface this with telling you that in his first at bat Paul failed miserably at getting a bunt down and never came close to getting any of the three balls in fair territory that he tried to get down.

So what do the Pirates do with Snder (real slow) on third and Maholm up at bat (looked really bad at bunting)? They try the squeeze. Maholm completely misses the ball and Snyder is dead to right in a short run down. Terrible decision all the way around. Stupid shit like this is going to cost the team games. This inning probably costs the Pirates the win. Without a doubt in my mind.

-Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata each had two hits. I have been wondering if it would have been a good idea to let Tabata lead off again since he was stroking from that spot to start the year, but maybe both fo these fuys are getting into a groove. I hope so.

-I don't know if bringing Brandon Wood into the fold help give Ronny Cedeno a kick in the ass, but it seems to have done that. Cedeno hasn't made an error in some time and he has been crushing the baseball. He now has a five game hitting streak and hits in eight of his last nine games. Cedeno is 10-30 (.333) in his last ten games and even has five walks to boot with that. I don't think Cedeno is the long term answer but you can't knock the production.

-Pirates really need the win tonight. Chuck Morton is on the mound and he has been pretty good this year. Hopefully this doesn't get too out of control.

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