At the end of the recap from last nights game I said that if the Pirates could get a win today and get to 5-7 that would really go a long way in how we look at this road trip. Well they did and it does. While they only went 3-5 on the trip they ended it winning three of the last four games and despite not having the offense click yet they were able to improve game to game and come away with a few big wins to get them somewhat close to .500 at 5-7.
Today I had mostly radio coverage as I was at work today and was only able to catch bits and pieces of the game on TV but there were still some good things that I was able to take from the game, I guess. The first is that the Pirates were able to get great long work out of their bullpen since James McDonald failed to even go five innings. He only went four complete and threw 78 pitches with only 46 of them going for strikes. Don’t ask me how McDonald does it because he only gave up one run and three hits and walked only one hitter. It was all in the first inning when he threw a boatload of pitches but really settled down after that. If he could figure out how to control himself in the first inning he could have a bunch of better starts.
Brad Lincoln was called up since Jeff Karstens was placed on the 15 day DL and he came up huge today. He pitched three scoreless innings and gave up only one hit. Sure he walked three guys but he also struck out four and ate some innings after the bullpen was pretty gassed after going deep last night and still not having Hanrahan. Chris Resop got an out and gave up a hit in the eighth and Tony Watson came in and induced a double play to close out the inning only throwing five pitches. Juan Cruz pitched a near perfect ninth only giving up a hit to earn his second save in as many nights.
Offensively the Pirates weren’t great but they were good when they had to be. They collected seven hits with Andrew McCutchen being the only one with more than one hit (he had two). With the Diamondbacks leading 1-0 in the seventh inning Pedro Alvarez went deep to right field to tie the game and then Neil Walker came through with a single to right field to score Clint Barmes with the go ahead run in the eighth. Some really big hits even though the Pirates didn’t have a ton of hits overall.
Alverez had a somewhat productive day. He struck out swinging in his first at bat but came back to walk in his second at bat and then hitting a home run later. All told he reached base in half of his plate appearances so you can’t really knock that. Sure he might have hit a home run on a changeup and still struggles getting to the fastball but he had a few pretty good at bats today. Hopefully he can build off this.
Pirates get the day off tomorrow before starting a home series against the Cardinals. It doesn’t get any easier.