Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pirates Game 37 Recap - Nationals 7, Pirates 4

The Pirates dropped their second game in a row with a tough 7-4 loss to the Nationals. The Pirates were right in the game despite Gio Gonzalez tossing 10 strikeouts in seven innings pitched but pretty much Adam LaRoche stole the show tonight as he continues to dominate the Pirates.

The Nationals struck first for two runs in the first two innings of the game and were up 2-0 and you might have thought this game was over. Ryan Zimmerman knocked in Bryce Harper, who tripled in the first, and then Ian Desmond homered for one of three Nationals home runs in the third inning.

The Bucs got the game cut in half with a Josh Harrison single to center to score Yamaico Navarro and you had the feeling that this was a game again. Washington then got back-to-back home runs from LaRoche and Xavier Nady off of Erik Bedard and you once again thought the game was over. Really unfortunate on the home runs by Bedard as he cruised with easy strikeouts of Harper and Zimmerman and even got ahead of LaRoche 1-2 before it unraveled.

In the seventh something happened that kind of left everyone stunned as Harrison went deep for a two run bomb in maybe the farthest ball Harrison has ever hit and it was again a one run game and it was only the seventh inning. Even Meek was called in to relieve Bedard and it got bad. Overall Meek hit a batter and walked two more to load the bases for LaRoche who took the first pitch (I think) down the right field line for a bases clearing double. That was about all she wrote. The Pirates offense did a little bit and got some base runners but just couldn't get that one big hit.

Overall Bedard was pretty good on the night. He did give up four runs and three home runs but he did strike out seven. Early in the game he looked a little stiff but before the back-to-back jacks he had retired ten straight batters in a row. It would have been nice to get a little more offensive support but I guess this is something that all the Pirates pitchers are kind of used to.

Meek was called up earlier in the day when Alex Presley was sent down and he was pretty much thrown right into the fire. He did give up the three run double to LaRoche but overall I thought Meek looked a lot better in this game than he did at the start of the season. Now, I know he hit a guy and walked two others but he had some good movement on his slider and he was pumping his fastball up to 96 on a few occasions. His location wasn't great but a lot of those pitches were borderline pitches that he wasn't getting the calls on. That is not an excuse because he should not have put himself in a bases loaded position but I am looking at his outing from a big picture view. You can work on the control stuff but it is a little harder to work on the velocity and movement aspect.

I guess the question that everyone is asking is why Meek was in this spot in the first place. He was in the minors as of today and then he got thrown into a huge spot in the game when the Pirates pen had some guys that got rest yesterday. I guess I don't have a ton of problems with it but I would have probably went with Cruz or Grilli. It just sucks that this is what really cost the game.

I know I get on Harrison a good bit on here and on twitter but the kid came to play tonight. He went deep with the two run bomb that for a second really got the Pirates back into the game and had some pretty good at bats on the night. He was the offensive spark at the bottom of the lineup that they needed. Rod Barajas continued to hit pretty well as he had a hit and got on via an error in the ninth inning. The bottom of the lineup showed some life and it just sucks that the pitching faltered late.

Clint Barmes is just lost. I talked about it my earlier post tonight about how bad his plate discipline has been and if you read that during the game and watched his at bats then you probably know what I am talking about. I would like to see Jordy Mercer get some time too because I honestly can't watch him play in the field much longer.

I just wanted to touch on LaRoche for a little bit. His bases clearing double was his 1,000th hit of his career and I think that is a pretty nice feat. I was always a LaRoche fan when he was with the Pirates and in my estimation when he came to the Pirates the fans and media put some really unrealistic expectations on his plate. Fans didn't like him because he wasn't an early season performer. While I might agree with that LaRoche wasn't as bad as some people want to remember. Over his three year career with the team he accumulated a .265/.340/.469 line for the Pirates and for all those "he did it in the second half when the season was over" here are some of the early months in his three year tenure: hit .269 in Mar/Apr in 09, .257 in May of 08 and .283 in May of 07. I don't know about you but that isn't as terrible as some might want you to think. Sure, he wasn't great but he was a pretty good first baseman for the team and I don't think he ever got the credit he deserved while he was here.

The Pirates finish up the series tomorrow. At least they don't have to face Strasburg.

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