Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Game 100 Recap - Pirates 3, Braves 1




Leading into this game there was some general excitement from all of the fans. Game was going to be on ESPN and give the Bucs some national attention and leading up to it the game there was some Pirates coverage on SportsCenter. All was good. Then it started to rain in Atlanta. You thought it might be over soon but then it wasn’t. We basically got to watch every other MLB game every played while we waited for the Pirates to be on ESPN for the first time since 2004. The game finally started, two hours late, and ESPN didn’t even bust out the 1992 footage in their intro montage. You knew it was coming though, and it did. You just hoped tonight wouldn’t be that bad.

James McDonald was not amused by the 1992 reference and came out to dominate. Although he only went 5.1 innings he gave the Braves little to no chance to even do anything with nine strikeouts and gave up eight hits while walking none. McDonald was outstanding through the first five innings before running into some trouble in the sixth, but once again the pen stepped up and got the job done.

The Pirates scored two runs in the second inning and tacked on another run in the sixth and rode McDonald and the pen to the 3-1 win. The Pirates only collected five hits but made the ones they did get count to take the first game of a tough seven game road trip. Ronny Cedeno drove home Andrew McCutchen, who led off the inning with a walk, and then Michael McKenry drove home Pedro Alvarez, who also walked, with a single to left field. McCutchen then drove home a run in the sixth for a huge insurance run to score Garrett Jones.

Chipper Jones homered in the eighth for the Braves. Whatever.

Thoughts:

-Chris Resop and Jose Veras often get bashed, for no good reason that I can tell, but came in and got massive outs when they had to. Resop came in with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, to follow McDonald, and all he did was get Nate McLouth to pop out to the catcher and struck out Alex Gonzalez. Veras came in the eighth inning with a runner on and one out and got two outs without a problem. So if anyone isn’t following me on twitter and wants an update for how terrible Veras is this was his 50th appearance of the year and he has only been scored on 12 times. How terrible is that?

-The offense wasn’t very good all night as they struck out 10 times and left five runners on base but they did what they have been doing all season, manufacturing runs. The Pirates had two 2-out RBI in the game and it just keeps working for them. Timely hits and quality over quantity are what the Pirates offense is about and you know what, it works.

-Dejan Kovacevic tipped off some great stats after the game as he noted that the Pirates pitching staff didn’t get a single groundout the entire game. Just unreal.

-Overall the pitching staff was efficient. The Bucs pitchers struck out 14 Braves as opposed to only one walk. You are going to win a lot of games if you do that. The Pirates strike out less batters than any other team in the league so I guess they came out to prove that they can strike out a few guys.

Game two of the four game set tomorrow. Going to be a really tough series but it was a great win tonight for the team to start the road swing.

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