Thursday, August 4, 2011

Game 110 Recap - Cubs 7, Pirates 6

Tonight was a different kind of loss for the Pirates and it was a really tough pill to swallow. Clint Hurdle hasn’t managed either the bench of the bullpen for a big part of the year and for the most part the Pirates have been able to overcome that and still win a bunch of games. Tonight they couldn’t overcome Hurdle’s hard headed attempt to only use Joel Hanrahan when it is a save situation and refusing to use his top reliever in high leverage situations.

After the Pirates put up a six run in the bottom of the fourth inning it looked to be all good. James McDonald got through seven innings and you thought that they would most assuredly go to Jose Veras in the eighth inning only being up by two and then they will finally get to use Hanrahan in the ninth. Did not happen.

Hurdle decided to use Daniel McCutchen for the eighth inning. Maybe fair enough, McCutchen has been pretty good this year but largely out of the long reliever role and the seventh inning role, not the eighth inning role. McCutchen gave up two straight hits and then hit a batter. Hurdle came out and you thought he might go to Hanrahan or Veras here, but he went with Jason Grilli instead. Grilli gives up a hit and the game is now a one run affair with the bases loaded and still no outs. He then go to the pen and brings in Joe Beimel. Beimel is in to face the lefty Carlos Pena and walks him. Tie game.

Hurdle finally goes to Veras and he does an amazing job to get out of the inning despite giving up a sacrifice fly to the leadoff batter he faced, but let’s face it the bases were loaded with no outs, what could you possible expect. Hurdle calls on Hanrahan for the ninth, when the Pirates were down one, and all he does is get three straight outs. Veras and Hanrahan combined to face six hitters and get six outs.

Pat from WHYGAVS said it best during the circus that was the ninth inning: “Hurdle's not just not using his best reliever here, he hasn't used any of his THREE BEST RELIEVERS here. Travishmockery.” Pat couldn’t have been more right. Hanrahan, Veras or Resop weren’t used in the highest leverage situation and I am not sure how he can sit there and try to defend his actions. I typically don’t get this worked up about stuff like this because I don’t feel that managers have a huge influence on the game but tonight the blame lies on the feet of Hurdle.

The Pirates have now got swept by the Cubs. The f’in Cubs. Things have been going bad but this is just about as bad as it has been all season.

McDonald had a pretty stand up game getting into the seventh inning for the first time this season. The plain excitement that he was showing after getting the final out in the seventh inning was something we haven’t seen from JMac in a long time and it was much deserved with how well he has pitched over the second half of the season. It is a shame that he wasn’t able to pick up a win tonight.

I don’t even know what my thoughts are right now. I guess there is a game tomorrow. Whatever.

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