Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pirates Game 120 Recap - Cardinals 5, Pirates 4

In a baseball season there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to a team's record that will stay true for most teams that aren't the 2012 Astros or 2010 Pirates. That rule is that you are going to win a third of your games you are going to lose a third of your games and the other third is going to determine how you shape your record. Today was one of those "determine your season" types of games for both teams and the Pirates came out on the short end of the stick.

To be honest I don't really get "mad" or "upset" when the Pirates lose for the most part because it is a 162 game season and like I said above even the best teams in the league are going to lose at least a third (plus) of their games. Today was one of the few times it was really frustrating to sit on the couch after a Pirates lost. Playing from behind all game is one thing but going into the ninth being down two runs and to get the bases loaded with no outs and your three and four hitters up and you aren't able to even tie the game. That is frustrating. That is baseball.

This game was a pretty sloppy game all together as both starters weren't very good, at all. Lance Lynn and Erik Bedard both were all over the zone as Lynn was out of the game after 4.1 and Bedard was out of the game a little later after 4.2 innings. Bedard got hit around giving up nine hits which was a season high and was responsible for all five runs. He was really good through four innings but it just unraveled in the fifth and Yadier Molina ripped a two out double with the bases loaded that scored the Cardinals fourth and fifth runs which were the game winners.

The Pirates weren't too good with runners in scoring position today and left a ton on the bases when they had a chance to have a big inning. They went 1-of-14 with runners in scoring position. That isn't going to win you games and when you lose a one run game it makes that statistic sting a little bit more. The worst part of the day was that in Andrew McCutchen's five at bats today he had four opportunities with runners in scoring position and went 0-for-4. He did drive in a run with a groundout but the Pirates needed more than that when that groundout came with the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth when the Pirates were down by two.

McCutchen had only his second 0-for-5 day of the year and didn't look good today at all. I see a lot of people talking about him being bad since he got hit by the Chapman pitch but that is merely an arbitrary start point that has no shred of truth to in. In the six games after getting hit by Chapman McCutchen only went hitless once and had seven hits in the other five games. So how exactly did the Chapman hit by pitch start everything when Cutch was good right after it happened? I guess that doesn't fit the narrative.

Jordy Mercer had a really nice game today going 2-for-4 with a double and driving in a pair of runs. He has been playing second base since Neil Walker went out with the dislocated finger in his throwing had but bad news caught up to Mercer in the ninth inning. He was up with a pair of runners on and got hit by a pitch in the hand to load the bases. Getting on base was great but it looked like Mercer could have messed his hand up pretty bad as he will get someone to look at it tonight. Losing Mercer would further deplete a bench that is already pretty bad and force Josh Harrison to play second base which I am not too excited about.

All in all just a frustrating game. I know I talked about the ninth inning a lot but after the McCutchen groundout the Pirates still had runners on the corners with one out and Garrett Jones up. Jones worked a 3-0 count and when the fourth pitch came in high and tight Jones took a huge hack at it and whiffed. Now I don't really have a problem with Jones swinging 3-0 because he has been so good but if you are going to swing 3-0 then you have to be able to do something with the pitch. The pitch that Jones got was high and tight and even if Jones got his bat on it he pops it up or swings and misses. You need to spit on that and loaded the bases, even if that brings up Josh Harrison with the bases loaded and he hasn't been good all he needs to do is get the ball into the outfield and you put the winning runner in scoring position.

Molina just kills the Pirates. He had three hits today and one of them was a two out double down the right field line to score the game winning run. Coming into the game today Molina was hitting .321/.383/.481 against the Pirates in 394 career plate appearances. Not having him in the game on Friday night was huge and having him in the game today was even bigger. He is a Pirates killer and to be honest he scares me more than any other guy in that lineup.

Not much more to say about this one. Come back and get the win tomorrow and this is a successful trip to St. Louis and you are in good position.

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