In what has been a pretty good month for the Pirates offense where they rank in the top-10 of many of the major offensive categories but tonight the offense didn't have a good night as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Twins where the Pirates only managed five hits and squandered their very few prime scoring opportunities through some great defense by the Twins and some terrible managing from Clint Hurdle.
There really wasn't much going on in this game as both teams combined for only 12 hits and the pitching was pretty good for most of the night. It didn't start off great for Erik Bedard as he threw nearly 30 pitches in the first inning and gave up a run on a Trevor Plouffe single to score Josh Willingham. Bedard then loaded the bases before getting out of the inning but it was pretty frustrating considering that all the hits and damage came with two outs and the Willingham hit that started the inning came on a 0-2 count.
The Pirates bats were pretty much shut down by Francisco Liriano for mostly the entire game until they broke through in the seventh inning. The Pirates got the bases loaded and up came Rod Barajas to hit for Jared Hughes and roped a 2-1 pitch into the left centerfield gap that looked for sure to be getting to the wall until Denard Span came out of nowhere and made a web gem catch that only allowed one run to score instead of three. Just a huge game altering play.
What was it game altering? Because the very next inning Willingham took Jason Grilli deep for a 2-1 lead and that was pretty much all she wrote. The Pirates actually had a decent chance in the ninth inning as Pedro Alvarez was walked on four straight pitches and what do the Pirates do with a position player at the plate? Try to bunt. Not nay do they try to bunt but they have Clint Barmes bunting with two strikes. What on God's green Earth is Clint Hurdle thinking? After that Michael McKenry flew out to left and Hurdle had only Garrett Jones left on the bench to face a lefty where he has exactly zero hits on the season. Great bench management though.
Hurdle gets way too much of a pass for his giving away of outs and terrible game management. He is a good interview and is a really good talker but at some point he has to be accountable for how terrible he making in game decisions. Bunting is one thing but bunting with two strikes in the ninth inning with the tying run on first base where the pitcher walked on four pitches in inexcusable. I just can't take much of it anymore but heaven forbid anyone bring it up to him. Just frustrating beyond words.
Not too much to add after that rant. As you can see I am not very happy. All things considered though Bedard had a nice start. He went six innings and only gave up four hits while striking out seven. He did walk a pair of Twins but both of those happened in the first inning and after that he was on point. It was pretty important after a string of below average starts but he looked pretty locked in after the first and total threw 17 first pitch strikes to the 24 batters he faced. This was a good step forward and hopefully he can get back to what he was doing at the beginning of the year.
Pirates need to get a win tomorrow. Losing this series would not be good. That is all.