Thursday, July 28, 2011

Game 103 Recap - Pirates 5, Braves 2

With all that happened during this series, all the ups and downs and failed attempts to score runs the Pirates were able to split a four game series with the Braves. This Braves team is leading the NL Wild Card race and would be leading almost any other division in baseball if they were not paired with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Most called this road trip a true test of what the Pirates were all about and if this is any indication then this team truly is in it for the rest of the season. The Pirates outscored the Braves 12-9 in the series and went against four very good pitchers in doing so. The only two losses the Pirates suffered was a 19-inning loss and another 10 inning loss. Pretty good if you ask me. Before the series if I said that we could win two of those games against Hudson/Hanson/Jurrjens/Lowe you would have taken that 100% of the time. Pretty exciting.

The Pirates only collected nine hits but they made these ones count.

The Braves cracked the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning with an Eric Hinske double to score Nate McLouth, who led off with a walk, and you really didn’t have a good feeling about it with how bad the Pirates offense has been.

The Bucs got right on the board. Kevin Correia helped his own cause with a single to left field to score Lyle Overbay in the top of the second inning. Over the past month Correia has three RBI and Overbay has none, or something like that. Any way you slice it Correia has more and that is not good when you are talking about your starting first baseman.

The Pirates took the lead for good in the fifth inning. Andrew McCutchen doubled home Xavier Paul followed by Pedro Alvarez grounding out to score Garrett Jones. Life is good, the Pirates scored more than two runs.

The Phillies scored another run on a “hit” (which was easily an error but the hometown scorer ruled it a hit because it was Dan Uggla and it extended his hitting streak to 19 games. What a joke.).

McCutchen then went yard in the top of the ninth inning for his third hit of the game to also score Steve Pearce, who walked.

Hanrahan. Game.

Thoughts:

-Correia had a really nice start tonight. He battled through a 47 minute rain delay and got through 6.1 innings in 89 pitches. For many of Correia’s previous starts he has been really bad and horribly hittable but he was good tonight and gave the Pirates a solid start. Although he gave up nine hits he was aided by a few double plays. Correia only walked one batter, the first batter he faced I believe, and struck out three.

-Andrew McCutchen hopefully is coming out of his slump that he has been in since the All-Star break. He was moved to the three spot tonight and responded with a 3-for-5 day and three RBI to raise his average back up to .279. His home run was an absolute missal and even one of his outs was a sharp hit line drive right to the right fielder. Nice day at the plate.

-Joe Beimel has been money lately. Today he was asked to come in the seventh inning and he worked 1.1 innings against the top of the Braves order and only gave up one hit and threw merely 10 pitches. He was aided by a huge double play turned by Alvarez to end the seventh inning but then came back out and did some great work to get two outs before turning the ball over to Hanrahan for the four out save. In seven appearances since the All-Star break, and also since returning from injury, Beimel has worked 4.2 innings and given up hits in only three of the outings. He has been really good recently and it is great to see.

-Alvarez had a really nice day both at the plate and in the field. The double play that he turned in the seventh inning was the play of the game, easily. While he didn’t have a hit for the first time since his call up he really had some good at bats and worked the count. One particular at bat he was down 1-2 and laid off of a few pitches that he would normally swing at and drew a walk. He hasn’t really come all the way around and he still is missing some pitches that he should hammer, but he has improved his plate discipline so far.

Another tough test tomorrow that starts a three game series against the Phillies. Get your minds right.

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