Well last night's game was a real downer and while tonight's game can't be considered in that same category it can be considered another bad loss in what has been a real roller coaster ride for the Pirates since the All Star break.
Jason Marquis nearly threw a no hitter as he went six complete inning of no hit baseball for a pitcher that hasn't been very good, at all, this season. Travis Snider broke up the bid with a leadoff infield hit but that was really all the Pirates had to cheer about on the night. A really uninspiring effort for the offense on a night where A.J. Burnett wasn't his best.
Burnett wasn't bad, but he didn't have his best stuff despite striking out ten hitters. He ended the night only going 5.2 innings and giving up five runs (four earned) and nine hits. He didn't walk a batter and the Padres didn't score a ton of runs in bunches like they did last night but it was still a dink and dunk night off of him.
The Padres scored single runs off him in the first, third and fourth innings before getting a pair in the sixth inning and then it was pretty much over.
The offense had no answer as Burnett was the only guy who really showed up. Sure, Snider singled to break up the no hitter and Alvarez sent a single to the right field wall in the eighth but the lack of plate discipline and just all around bad approaches really killed the Pireats tonight.
I know last night, and today, I went into why the Pirates are not going on the slide and I still stick to that tonight. Throughout this year I have been consider a front office apologist then I was considered being too hard on the team at the All Star break and then again I am labeled as being too optimistic but this team isn't collapsing. Yet. The Pirates are still at least 1.5 games up on the next closest wild card team despite being only 15-13 since the All Star break.
If you didn't get a chance to read my piece that I posted today about the Pirates and the teams that trail them in the wild card standings then I suggest you take a look at it now. It might surprise how well the teams that are trailing them aren't doing.
Burnett didn't have the best start tonight but he was due for an off night. I know I have been saying things like that and "games like this happen" but Burnett has been good for so long. When was the last time that he truly unraveled? Does it suck that it happens at a time that the Pirates offense struggled (for one game) and when the pen has been bad? Yea, it does, but lets not pretend like Burnett wasn't going to lose another game the rest of the year.
Regression was going to happen to some extend with a lot of the Pirates pitcher, both starters and relievers alike, but it just sucks that it all seems to be happening at the same time during the same stretch. It is a 162 game baseball season and you are going to have ups and downs. So far this year I think the ups have greatly outnumbered the downs, especially since June. A cold streak was bound to happen no matter how good they were playing. The question is how long until they get out of the inconsistency funk and back to some normal baseball. This is the first time that the Pirates have lost three games in a row since they dropped three straight June 24-26 when they lost the final game of the Tigers series and then dropped the first two against the Phillies. Not having a three game losing streak since the end of June is pretty good since they have strung together a few three and four game winning streaks. All is not terrible. If all we have to bitch about is a three game losing streak then things aren't all that terrible in Pittsburgh in terms of baseball.
That will be interesting to see. Erik Bedard on the bump tomorrow. Get the win.