Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pirates Game 16 Recap - Pirates 5, Rockies 4

Kinda felt like forever since the Pirates played, didn’t it? Although they only went one day without a game it seemed like weeks and the Pirates managed to get out of their own way enough to score a 5-4 win.

Kevin Correia got the start and it really didn’t look good for him to start. He gave up a two run shot to Carlos Gonzalez and it was 2-0 before the Pirates bats even got to work. Usually two runs in the first inning isn’t much for a team but when you are the Pirates two runs can seem like five even if 49 year old Jamie Moyer was on the bump for the Rockies.

The Pirates got a run back in the first inning when an Andrew McCutchen groundout scored Alex Presley who led off the game with a double and was bunted over by Jose Tabata. I will get to more of the bunting stuff later.

The Pirates looked like they were going to win the game in the seventh inning when McCutchen doubled home Presley and Tabata who reached to start the inning. Although it was only a double, McCutchen absolutely crushed the ball to dead centerfield and hit a little more than halfway up the fence. It was great to see McCutchen coming through with an extra base hit in crunch time as most of his hits this year have been singles.

All was good as Jason Grilli came in and got a pair of strikeouts with a double by Marco Scutaro sandwiched in between but for some reason Clint Hurdle decides to go with Tony Watson with Gonzalez coming up. Now, I know why Watson was called on. The lefty-lefty matchup is something that Hurdle loves to do and Watson has been really good so far this year. However, it would have been nice to go with either your best reliever (Grilli) who dominates left handed hitters or go with your closer, Joel Hanrahan, who is pretty good against one of Colorado’s top hitters. Well, Watson is in and Gonzalez goes deep to give the Rockies a one run lead. It was the first inherited runners that Watson had let score all year (previously 10-for-10).

The Pirates bounced back and retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning and it all started with the star of the game Clint Barmes. He crushed a leadoff home run to tie then contest and then it was followed up by a walk to Garrett Jones followed by Alex Presley reaching when his bunt was flubbed. After Jose Tabata couldn’t get a bunt down and Andrew McCutchen grounded out but Casey McGehee came up ultra clutch with a base hit to score Nate McLouth who was running for Jones.

Hanrahan was filthy and got the save.

Really wild game and it was great for the Pirates to win it. They are now 7-9 and with the ineptitude of the offense for the season it is really amazing that they have won seven games. Interesting note is that the Pirates are the first NL team since 1965 Pirates to neither score nor allow more than 5 runs in their 1st 16 games. No idea.

Bunting has been a huge talking point on twitter. Now, if you know me you know that I am more tolerant to the bunting than most people but tonight was out of control. When you are down 2-0 in the first inning and your leadoff hitter gets a double there is no need to bunt them over. All night the Pirates were playing for one run and it could have really cost them in the end. Luckily it didn’t. It’s not going to change, this is how Hurdle likes it and he will either sink or swim with it so we all better get used to it (if we haven’t already).

So, how about Barmes? Dude has been nonexistent all season and tonight he comes out in a big way with a 3-for-3 night with a pair of doubles and the huge home run. You know it’s bad when a night like this earlier in the season only raises your average .146 you know you haven’t been performing but the Pirates needed someone to step up tonight and it was finally someone in the bottom of the order. Hopefully this is a start of a hot streak for Barmes so that the Pirates don’t have to exclusively rely on the top three in the order but, wooo.

The Pirates offense really had a nice night as they had 11 hits in only 33 at bats and even had more walks than strikeouts. I know I shouldn’t be overly excited about this, but I am. Five walks and only three strikeouts. I know this isn’t going to be something we see more of but when the Pirates get them they should take advantage and they did.

I am not a big Correia fan. I don’t think he is very good at all and I really don’t want him in the rotation but even I have to give him props for another solid start. He was able to go through six innings and although he threw 93 pitches that was set up primarily by the bad first inning he had. After that he cruised through the Rockies lineup and gave the offense a chance to catch up, which they eventually did later in the game. I am sure Correia is going to stay in the rotation and I think that he probably has earned this right but I hope they don’t keep sending him out there when it starts to get bad as it did last season.

All Juan Cruz does is get batters out. What a signing.

The Pirates were 4-of-16 with runners in scoring position tonight. Yikes.

Double dip tomorrow.

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