FOX is a joke. If you were unfortunate enough to not live in the small Pittsburgh or Cincinnati area then you couldn’t watch this game. I fit into that situation. I have a real problem with how FOX does this as they had three national games going on today and while the Mets/Brewers and Cubs/Cardinals games got a ton of play across the nation the Pirates game maybe got 5% coverage of the nation for a “national” game. Listen, if you are going to do that then just drop it as a national game and let the fans of the teams watch it. To put it in perspective the number of people that were able to watch the Pirates/Reds today is LESS than if it was not a national game. Just stupid, but I digress.
The Pirates used another stead offensive performance today to defeat the Reds and earn a 5-3 victory. Although there weren’t the volume of runs scored as there were last night the Bucs offense did a nice job of getting runners on base and capitalizing by stringing hits together. The offense banged out 11 hits and picked up the bullpen that had another average day.
Charlie Morton didn’t have the best game of the season but still was able to pitch well against the Reds and get big outs when he needed them. Chuck went six innings and gave up seven hits while only walking one and probably could have gone a seventh inning after throwing only 89 pitches. He was pinch hit for in the bottom of the sixth inning so I can’t really knock that but it would have been interesting to see him go back out for the seventh. Morton struggled some only throwing first pitch strikes to 11 of the 23 batters he faced but got 11 ground ball outs as opposed to only three fly ball outs. Vintage Morton as he got two huge double play balls mixed in. Morton owns the Reds as he’s faced them four times this year and combined to give up three runs.
As I said before the offense stepped up and then again were successful by going 5-of-14 with runners in scoring position. Neil Walker just continues to hit the ball well getting three hits on the game and two of those with runners in scoring position. His last five games he is 9-for-17 so it is nice to see him hitting the ball well. Andrew McCutchen had another multi hit game with two hits in five at bats and Jose Tabata, fresh off his new extension, went 1-for-3 with two walks in the leadoff spot.
The key part of the game came in the seventh inning against fire baller Aroldis Chapman. After Walker put the Pirates up by one with an RBI single Brandon Wood doubled to right field to score Ryan Ludwick to put the Pirates up by a pair late in the game. Chapman just wasn’t good in the seveth as McCutchen and Ludwick both reached with a single and walk.
The lead was good enough to hold as Jose Veras locked down the eighth inning with back-to-back strikeouts with runners on first and second and then Joel Hanrahan bounced back strong for his 31st save on a perfect outing.
Solid game for the Pirates and really nice to see the offense put it together on back-to-back games. A win tomorrow would be huge to get ready for the Brewers, who come into town for a four game set.