Saturday, August 13, 2011

Game 118 Recap - Brewers 1, Pirates 0




Another game at Miller Park for the Pirates and another loss on the books. This one was of a much different variety as Kevin Correia shut down the powerful Brewers lineup to only one run and coupled with a strong bullpen effort forced Milwaukee to go 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but what the Pirates could not overcome was being three hit by five different Brewers pitchers. Frustrating.

The only run of the game came in the second inning when Correia left an 0-2 pitch right down the middle and the red hot Yuniesky Betancourt put the ball into the left field seats. After that no other runs were scored although there were numerous chances (mostly for the Brewers).

Correia was pulled with two outs in the seventh inning for Chris Resop who came in with a runner on first and facing Ryan Braun. Resop gave up a single to Braun and then walked fielder to get to Casey McGehee with the bases loaded. Resop then proceeded to throw three fastballs at 95 that McGehee wanted no part of.

The Pirates got their huge chance in the top of the ninth inning. Xavier Paul was inserted into the game as part of a double switch in the eighth inning and led off with a full count leadoff triple to deep centerfield. To be honest off the bat I thought it was gone. I was at Miller Park and as soon as the ball came off the bat everyone there thought it was gone. I was stunned when it didn’t. Thank to all those there that Nyjer Morgan is a below average at best fielder because he looked like Ryan Doumit trying to play centerfield and took a ball that probably should have been caught at the wall and turned it into a triple.

The Pirates then had their best hitter up, Andrew McCutchen, followed by Matt Diaz, who has been hitting the ball pretty well recently up next. Both of them grounded out with a drawn up infield. Figures. Garrett Jones then worked a walk, during a really good at bat, off of closer John Axford to bring up the Pittsburgh kid Neil Walker. Walker then struck out to end the game.

Thoughts:

-Just a tough game to be at. The Brewers didn’t play well and the Pirates had a prime opportunity to take game two of the series and let game slip right between their fingers. When you get that tying run on third base with no outs, down one, in the ninth inning you need to bring that run home.

-Correia was very good today. He has struggled since the break but today he came in and did what the team needed him to do. Even though he didn’t get through seven innings he came pretty damn close. He scattered seven hits and also walked three, so it wasn’t perfect, but he got out of trouble when he needed to. He made the tough pitches and threw first pitch strikes to 21 of 29 batters. That is how he needs to pitch if he wants to win more in the second half of the season.

-The Pirates could really use some of the guys on the DL to come back. I know this might seem silly to say now but how much different is this game if the top three of the batting order is Alex Presley/Jose Tabata/McCutchen instead of McCutchen/Diaz/Jones? I would tend to think they are going to provide a little more. It sucks but I think we are close to getting there with both Presley and Tabata in AAA and the word is that Tabata is due back in Pittsburgh on Monday. It might not have changed the outcome today but it would make me feel better to see the first top three instead of the second one I mentioned.

-I know it is floating around there that there is a “curse” for the Pirates playing the Brewers and maybe the Pirates don’t have confidence and fold easy when playing the Brewers, but I don’t buy it. Sure, it has been really tough for the Pirates to go into Milwaukee and win baseball games the last five seasons but there is a pretty easy explanation: The Brewers are a better team. They have much more talent than the Pirates and their staff is much more talented. I am not sitting here trying to justify the Pirates not being able to beat the Brewers, but it is not because of a curse. The Brewers have Hart/Braun/Fielder/Weeks/Marcum/Greinke/Gallardo and what do the Pirates have to counter that? Sure they have McCutchen and Walker but they don’t match up to that. Just look at the lineups and I think you can see it is less curse and more talent as to why the Pirates are 0-7 against the Brewers in 2011.

Tomorrow finishes up the three game set. Hopefully the Pirates can salvage a win.

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