Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Game 129 Recap - Pirates 2, Brewers 0




I think over the course of the four game series against the Brewers you could say that the Pirates are sort of lucky to come out with a split. Outside of one inning in the second game of the double header on Monday the Pirates were outscored 21-9. Sure, the Pirates scored seven runs in the seventh inning of the second game but were outplayed greatly the rest of the series. Whatever, two wins are two wins and I will take them.

The Pirates got two runs on two sacrifice flies and Aaron Thompson had a successful debut for the Pirates in a shutout effort. Andrew McCutchen drove home Jose Tabata in the first inning and Neil Walker drove in Josh Harrison in the fourth inning for the only run production of the game.

Thompson was a spot starter since about every Pirate pitcher is now on the DL and he did a pretty nice job. He only went 4.1 innings but did so only giving up four hits and walking two in 68 pitches. To be honest Thompson's limit in the minors (between AA and a brief stint in AAA) was four innings and around 50-60 pitches so you really can't complain about what he gave the Pirates today. I don't expect Thompson to be up for another start but it is nice you can bring up a guy for a spot start situation against a really good offensive team and give your team a chance to win. Big ups to Thompson for today.

It can not be overlooked how good Jason Grilli has been for the Pirates. Today he came in and pitched 2.2 innings since Thompson was out of the game quickly and all Grilli did was have a perfect outing and strike out four batters including some big outs in a situation where he had runners on second and third with one out in the fifth inning when he came in for Thompson. Just an outstanding effort by Grilli today.

The staff as a whole, which also included Jose Veras and Joel Hanrahan, limited the Brewers to go 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and only gave up five hits total. That isn't going to happen much, given the circumstances, with a team like Milwaukee, but when you get pitching efforts like this you need to get the win and not waste these outings.

Jose Tabata is on fire right now. Since coming off the DL August 16th Tabata has gone 15-for-38 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 runs scored from the lead off spot. Tabata has rose his batting average from .265 to .281 in that time span and is doing a great job at the top of the order. Even the balls he is getting out on are lasers right at people. I talked about this on Monday but if Tabata can keep this up and Alex Presley can come back and contribute the top of the lineup is going to be pretty good the rest of this season.

Overall the offense wasn't great. They only had four hits and scored both of their runs without a base hit. They didn't have many base runners but they got the runs in. Both runs were created by lead off doubles (Tabata in the first and Harrison in the second) and they manufactured the runners to third (Tabata bunted over and Harrison moved over on a wild pitch) before driving them home with sacrifice flies. They needed to do that and they did. I will take it.

The Pirates now get ready for another really tough four game series with the Cardinals who are clinging for their lives in the NL Central so it would be nice to kill their dreams even if it means the Brewers locking up the NL Central.

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