I wasn’t home for the final innings of the game and was back pretty late so if you were looking for the recap right after the game last night I apologize, but this was another case of the Pirates coming up short. The Bucs did enough to stick around in the game but never really kept the momentum and dropped the second game in a row to the Phillies 7-4.
The Pirates were able to scratch across four runs off Cliff Lee (who threw 121 pitches!) and also got eight hits. Every time the Pirates mounted a comeback though the Phillies answered right back. The Pirates cut the Phillies lead to 3-2 with a Pedro Alvarez home run in the fourth inning but then the Phils scored two runs the next half inning. The Bucs then scored two runs in the eighth inning only to give up a run to the Phillies in their half of the eighth. Overall a much better effort than the previous night, but still not good enough.
The Phillies are just a stacked lineup and although James McDonald had some of his good stuff tonight he just made a couple of mistakes that killed the Pirates. JMac only went five innings and gave up five earned and 10 hits. The first two innings it looked as if we were going to be able to get JMac deep in the game but the third and fourth innings provided some problems and it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess.
The defense still wasn’t great and outfield defense continues to be a sore spot as the outfield accounted for another error in the game and a few others that probably could have been considered errors. When you have been struggling offensively as the Pirates have there is no room to give other teams free base runners and runs and that is exactly what the Pirates did, again.
The hitters weren’t great again, striking out 15 times on the night. Michael McKenry had a forgettable game with four strikeouts in four at bats while every starter except Neil Walker struck out at least once. Meh.
Walker continues to play well and had three hits last night. Andrew McCutchen still continues to struggle with a 0-for-3 night with two strikeouts so hopefully that doesn’t last. If McCutchen can start to heat up and join Neil Walker on the hit parade then the offense will be able to put up some runs. If those two hit well, at the same time, with [hopeful] returns from Alex Presley and Jose Tabata and this could be a really fun top of the lineup to watch down the stretch.
The Pirates look to bounce back in the series finale. Winning one of three wouldn’t be horrible and would give them a 6-7 record against a really tough portion of their schedule that included the Reds, Cardinals, Braves and Phillies.