Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Game 121 Recap - Pirates 5, Cardinals 4 (11 innings)




Chris Carpenter on the mound tonight for the Cardinals against a Pirates team that had been struggling with bringing home runners in scoring position and a pention for striking out. What did you think was going to happen? Whatever it [probably] was, you were wrong. Garrett Jones walked it off in the 11th inning with a massive bomb to right field off Arthur Rhodes that made it into the river on one bounce and the Pirates have a chance for the sweep tomorrow.

The Pirates did something tonight that they really haven’t done all year and that is scoring a ton of runs via the home run ball. All five runs tonight came from the deep ball and the bulk of the runs in yesterday’s game were from the home run too and it has been awesome.

Andrew McCutchen hit an absolute bomb to left field to score three runs in the third inning to put the Pirates up 3-1. After the Cardinals tied the game in the sixth and took the lead in the bottom of the ninth inning it looked like the Pirates wasted away a chance to take the series. You would have been dead wrong if you thought that.

Fernando Salas, the Cardinals closer, comes in to close the door and Neil Walker busted the door down on the first pitch and hit a ball into the seats in right centerfield. Boom.

The Cardinals probably would have won the game in the 11th inning when Albert Pujols came up with a runner in scoring position and scorched a ball into the Northside Notch and Andrew McCutchen raced over from his centerfield spot (where he was shading Pujols slighting into the right center gap) and made a running catch, full speed. You really have to see it to understand how much ground he covered and the difficulty of it that he made look easy.

Jones then came up as the first batter of the bottom of the 11th and it was over.

Thoughts:

-Jeff Karstens didn’t have his longest outing of the game but it certainly wasn’t a terrible start. He only worked 5.1 innings but only gave up six hits and two walks so it wasn’t a bad outing. He gave up three runs but one of them he couldn’t do a lot about as McCutchen let the Holliday line drive get over his head after taking a few steps in which led to a run. The other run was on an Albert Pujols home run on a really good pitch and then David Freese took a horrible off balanced swing on a breaking ball and it ended up going for a run scoring double. It was a solid start for Karstens and it gave the team a chance to win so you can’t really be too upset about that.

-Chris Resop has had a rough stretch recently, but he was huge tonight and picked up his fourth win of the year. He went two innings and didn’t give up a single hit and only walked one. It was a really nice outing for Resop and one that he defiantly he deserves. He has been a bull out of the pen this year.

-McCutchen had a nice day at the plate with two hits and two walks, including the big home run early. It has been somewhat of a struggle but he looked much more comfortable and focused at the plate tonight. Hopefully this is the start of a good stretch for Cutch because he can be a guy that can carry an offense by himself.

-Speaking of getting hot I think we can qualify that Neil Walker is getting hot. Walker now has five hits in the first two games of the series and is squaring up every ball that he is putting in play. The home run to tie the game was on a good pitch and it was the first time he put the ball over the fence since July 16.

-For all the smack that people talk on Jones he has quietly had a pretty nice season at the plate. Coming into the night Jones is second on the team with a wOBA of .336 and a wRC+ of 111. In the month of August Jones has accumulated an OPS of 1.070 and has 19 hits including four home runs and six doubles in 54 at bats. Not too shabby for a guy that some people wanted cut around the deadline.

-The Pirates won with some power, but they still struggled mightily with runners in scoring position only going 1-for-7 and really struggling in the late innings. In both the ninth and the 10th inning the Pirates got the leadoff hitter on and then bunted that runner over to second but could not come through with a hit in either situation. This would normally doom a team like the Pirates but they somehow pulled it out. It is still something that needs to be fixed.

Big chance to pick up a series sweep of the Cardinals and start the home stand off on the right foot. It sucks that the win helps out the Brewers but the Pirates winning is more important right now, to me at least.

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