Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pirates Game 99 Recap - Pirates 6, Astros 5

To be honest I really have no idea how to describe this game. I didn't really get to watch a lot of this game because I had some things to do tonight but I did get to follow the game on my computer then on my phone then I got to listen to the last two innings of the game through my app on my iPod so it was a little bit of everything. For how bad the Astros have been the last month or so they really put that to the test tonight and choked up another loss in the ninth inning to the Pirates. The Astros tonight were vintage 2010 Pirates and it got the Pirates to 15 games over .500 with a 6-5 victory.

I won't start with the cronological order of how things went down tonight, all you need to know is how it ended. The Astros took the lead in the bottom of the bottom of the seventh inning with a leadoff triple then a one out sacrifice fly and you just kind of had the feeling that the Pirates were going to get one more punch. Luckily for them they got the knockout punch.

In the top of the ninth with one out the Bucs got to work. Michael McKenry capped off a huge night with a single then Drew Sutton and Casey McGehee both reached via the walk to set up Starling Marte. Marte drove the ball deep to center to score Jordy Mercer who ran for McKenry.

So, you sit back and think it's a tie game and going deep into the game favored the Pirates no matter how bad they played. Well, the next batter was Rod Barajas who hit for Alex Presley and the most Astros thing happened, wild pitch. That wild pitch scored Sutton from third and the Pirates had their first lead of the game. Joel Hanrahan came on and survived by working around a one out single which was followed by a stolen base for his 31st save which leads all of baseball.

By no means was this a "good" win for the Pirates but in the same breath it doesn't matter if a win is good or not, a win is a win. IT was ugly and it was against a really bad Astros team but if you win by ten it doesn't count more than a one run win where you get that final run in the top of the ninth inning. The Pirates need to stack wins and they are doing that against the Astros so far.

This game was really all about McKenry. With the Pirates down 4-1 in the fifth inning McKenry crushed a home run into the left field seats to cut the lead to one. Right now The Fort is hitting at a .267/.341/.567 line which is a .908 OPS. Yes, you can read that again. He went 3-for-4 tonight with the home run and a double and now has nine home runs in 120 at bats. I think his success is coming a lot from how the Pirates utilize him and not get him in there for too many games because I think he can get exposed if he plays too much but you probably need to get his bat into the lineup a little bit more now.

Andrew McCutchen bounced back with a pair of doubles tonight en route to going 2-for-4. He has been struggling a little bit the past week or so but still is getting his hits and making things hards for everyone else so you can't really complain. Most players would take his "cold streak" over their own hot streaks.

I rail on Alex Presley a good bit, for good cause, but he had a pretty nice game tonight with a home run and a single in the number two hole. I really don't like Presley hitting that high in the lineup since he has a pretty substantial problem getting on base but it was nice to get some production out of the two spot considering that Marte had a quiet night going 0-for-4.

The Pirates are now 15 games over .500. For the past 10+ years I would always either look in the paper or go online and look at the standings and I always remember looking at the top of the standings in each division around this time and seeing teams that are 15, 16 or more games over .500 and wondering what it would feel like if the Pirates would ever be in that position where a four or five game losing streak would still have them in a decent spot overall. I am not going to lie when I looked at the standings tonight and saw the Pirates that far above .500 it was really a strange feeling. I know they have been 13 or 14 games over for a while now but I think it is starting to sink in a little more for me. Fun times.

The Pirates will be sending Wandy Rodriguez to the bump tomorrow night for his first start since the trade. It is going to be fun to watch.

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