Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pirates Game 93 Recap - Pirates 5, Marlins 1

Things that happened in the Pirates/Marlins game that let you know that things were going the right way for the Pirates:

1) Alex Presley walked twice
2) Garrett Jones walked twice
3) The Pirates batted around in an inning and didn't record a plate appearance until the ninth hitter of the inning
4) Jordy Mercer tripled

When you have those things going you expect to win 110% of the time. The Pirates are now 13 games over .500(!) and even though the Reds are playing some red hot baseball the Pirates are hanging right with them. With how bad the Bucs played out of the break it looks like they are figuring it out and damn it feels good.

To be honest this game was pretty boring for the first 3.5 innings as each team got a run, the Pirates on a Jones groundout and the Marlins on a Ruggiano home run. When the bottom of the fourth inning happened things just kind of got out of control in an inning that I think nobody really saw coming and might not believe if they didn't watch it.

Carlos Zambrano was pitching and as we all know it doesn't take much to get him off his game and this year he has been a little wild so when he started the inning hitting the Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes you knew it was going to be good. A.J. Burnett then came up to bunt and catcher John Buck threw it into right field to load the bases. Zambrano then walked Presley with the sacks loaded to force in a run before Neil Walker hit a sacrifice fly to score another. Andrew McCutchen, Jones and McGehee then walked to force in two more runs before Pedro Alvarez and Barajas stuck out to end the inning. Four runs on zero hits and two official plate appearances. Just unreal.

The rest of the game was pretty standard as Burnett had another outstanding outing going 7.2 innings and scattering eight hits and only walking one in 104 pitches. When the Pirates were in talks of getting Burnett I was pretty excited and thought he would be good for the team but I didn't think he would be this good. Every time the Marlins got someone on base Burnett was there with a big double play pitch and he just had the Marlins off balance all night. It is really fun to watch him pitch.

The Pirates also did something tonight that they don't typically do and that is take a walk. They walked eight times tonight and also reached base twice via the hit by itch so the Marlins staff gave the Pirates ten free bases. Although the Pirates struck out eight times it was great to see them understand that Zambrano (six walks, two HBP) didn't have it and they worked the count.

Although the offense drew a ton of free passes they weren't really good overall. They only recorded five hits and even worse they went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They had a ton of opportunities to put this game completely out of reach but just couldn't put the ball in play enough. It doesn't matter because they got the win and this hasn't really been a huge problem for them over the last two months so I am not really going to worry about it.

Pirates have a chance for the sweep tomorrow and it would be a great boost since they have the Cubs coming into town for the next three game series. Keep it rolling.

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