Just another awful game at PNC Park as the Padres just put the smack down on the Pirates to the tune of 15-5 in front of a full house. The Pirates actually started the game off right with runs in each of the first three innings but they let the Padres in each and every time and then the offense went cold and the Padres offense went off and that was all she wrote for their eighth straight loss.
The Padres busted out for good in the fourth inning. The Pirates took a 4-3 lead on a Ryan Doumit home run in the bottom of the third inning and then the Padres scored six runs in the top of the fourth and they never looked back. The inning was highlighted by a grand slam from Chase Headley.
Jeff Karstens who has been so good this season was as bad tonight as he’s been good all season. He only went 3.1 innings and gave up nine runs (all earned) off nine hits and one walk. He just didn’t have it for the second straight start. After the Pirates got four runs in the first three innings you would have thought this was going to be a great chance to win with Karstens on the bump but it was not. Just a really tough night all around.
The pitching has been pretty horrible all the way around for the Pirates. In the last four games the staff has given up 14 home runs. That was not a typo. 14 home runs. These aren’t just cheap home runs either, these are bombs that are leaving PNC Park. They gave up a bunch of hits tonight and have really taken the regression talk to a whole new level. I don’t even know what else to say about it.
The offense actually swung the bat really well tonight and mashed 15 hits which include six players with multi hit nights. There were some guys who had terrific nights such as Ryan Ludwick who had four hits off his former team and Garrett Jones, Neil Walker, Ryan Doumit, Ronny Cedeno and Xavier Paul who each had two hits. There was only one player that didn’t have a hit for the Pirates tonight and that was Pedro Alvarez, but it was much worse than that for the third baseman.
While the offense did put the stick on the ball they didn't do it during the most important time, when runners were in scoring position. The Pirates were only 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position and they left 16 (!) men on base. Not going to win a ton of games when you couple that with poor starting pitching.
Alvarez’s first three at bats came with runner on base and he proceeded to hit into three double plays. In his fourth at bat he struck out and he also made an error in the field. I mean there literally couldn’t have been anything that made this night worse for Alvarez. Among all hitters he was the least valuable with a -.263 win probability added (WPA). I guess the only way it could get worse is if he grounded into a fourth double play. Even after the Padres got the four runs in the fifth inning Pedro came up with the bases loaded and one out with the score 9-4. Still early that if you got two runs there it was still a game. Grounded into the double play and the boo birds rained down.
Look, I stick up for Pedro a good bit. I can admit that he had a pretty horrid game, but let’s cool it with the “send him to AAA” stuff. Pedro has 576 career plate appearances. That isn’t even a season’s worth of plate appearances and you are ready to label him a bust and ship him out of town. I can list off a bunch of players who struggled early in their careers and bounced back to be great players. If you don’t believe me go look up what Aramis Ramirez did in his first 600 or so plate appearances and then get back to me.
I get the part where if you buy a ticket you have the right to boo whoever you want, but what good does it do to boo Pedro Alvarez? Is that going to magically make him realize to play better? Is it going to make him realize that he shouldn’t hit into double plays? No and No. You bought the ticket and you have the right to boo but that doesn’t mean you aren’t an idiot.
This streak is starting to wear on me and I am sure it is wearing on you too. The Pirates will win eventually and I am still going to be watching when they do. Get ready for tomorrow. Or don’t. Whatever.