Monday, April 30, 2012

Pirates Game 22 Recap - Pirates 9, Braves 3

If you got to watch the Pirates tonight then you were able to witness history. Well, no, not really, but it really felt like history because for the first time this season the Pirates scored more than five runs. 21 games before tonight the Pirates scored five runs or less, most of the time less, but they scored nearly double that with nine runs. In one game. Everyone rejoices.

For real, you really couldn’t really knock the offense tonight. After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning they tied it up in the third, took the lead in the fourth, added a pair in the sixth and opened up the flood gates in the seventh. How novel, scoring runs in more than one early inning. Horary!

Every Pirate started earned at least one hit, even Rod Barajas, and some players even had more than one hit. Neil Walker really had a nice night with three hits which raised his average to .282 and Yamaico Navarro had a pair of hits which included a two run blast to left field. Everyone else had one hit which also included a Pedro Alvarez home run to make the score 4-2 in the fourth inning. Alvarez hit the ball off lefty Mike Minor. Pedro is just grooving right now.

The night was really about James McDonald. This might have been his most efficient game of the season and he looked really good. The first inning it looked like it was going to be a lot of the same for McDonald as he was really all over the place. That led to a single, who was caught stealing, followed by a walk and a home run to Freddie Freeman. McDonald was able to get out of the inning with only 18 pitches and he just got stronger as the game went on. Most might think that his best game might have been last start when he gave up only one hit but he was largely inefficient. Not so tonight.

McDonald set a new career high with ten strikeouts and he was able to go a 7.2 innings. Sure, he threw 114 pitches to do so but this was a really solid game and the first one you can say that it looked like he was getting things together. He was able to throw 72 of his pitches for strikes which was much better than previous starts in terms of strikes thrown and his curveball was really outstanding which is what he used to rack up most of the ten strikeouts.

I know you don’t really like to be a downer on a night like this but the Pirates still struck out 12 times in the game with six position players who started registering at least one. That is no idea. They were, however, able to pick up three walks off Minor who rarely walks everyone but I guess when you get 11 hits the number of times you strikeout can be overlooked. Strikeouts have always been a problem with this team and it sucks to see because the offense isn’t going to be able to overcome that most nights.

The Pirates are finally done with the month of April and if you ask me they had a really nice month. Sure, they are 10-12 but this will far and away be the toughest month of the season and they were basically able to tread water and be right around .500 for that month. They head to St. Louis tomorrow to play the Cardinals for the second time this season. Hopefully the offense can continue to play well and the pitching keeps giving them great outings.

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