If you were ever an athlete, or even if you weren't, you know what it feels like when you are really good at something and even if you went into the situation you know you could do that thing with your eyes closed. We all have that one thing, whether it is a part of your job or if you play that awful softball team in your beer league, you know you are going to dominate. That is exactly what it feels like to be a member on the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff to play against the Cincinnati Reds so far this season. Not even kidding.
James McDonald threw his best game of the season and went 6.1 inning of scoreless ball. He was efficient, which he hasn’t been at all this year, and he threw his fastball for strikes, which he hasn’t been doing, which set up just a filthy curveball that he was throwing tonight. He struck out seven batters and although he walked three he only threw 87 pitches. This was his best outing of the year and if he can keep throwing the ball like this he is going to be scary good.
The pen was extremely good again. With the Pirates holding on to their 1-0 lead James McDonald loaded bases with only one out Joe Beimel came in to face the lefty Jay Bruce and Beimel struck him out and then Chris Resop came in and threw one pitch to get Drew Stubbs and escape the jam. That was the best and pretty much only shot the Reds had all night. Resop worked the eighth for a 1-2-3 inning and then Joel Hanrahan got the save despite giving up two singles, although both were with two outs. The Pirates are now 7-1 against the Reds this season and have outscored them 37-24. What makes this even more impressive is that they gave up 11 runs in their lone loss so in the seven Pirates wins they outscore the Reds 35-13.
The Pirates only had four hits on the night and there wasn’t much offense to go around, as evident by only scoring one run. The lone run came off the bat of Andrew McCutchen as he grounded out to short in the first inning to score Josh Harrison. No more runs after that and not many hits after that either. Mike Leake did a really nice job tonight for the Reds and probably deserved the win, but when you team hasn’t scored a run in two days there is probably not a good chance you are going to pick up a win.
The Pirates are still in first place of the NL Central and are now seven games above .500 and playing some good baseball. Trade talk is ramping up. What a time to be alive.