Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pirates Game 126 Recap - Pirates 4, Brewers 0

The Pirates finally got off the slide in a big way. It was probably the most complete game the Pirates have played in some time and got great pitching from Jeff Karstens and some good, timely, offense to down the Brewers.

The Pirates scored all four of their runs on the night in the fifth inning and did most of the damage with two outs thanks to an error from Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez. Gomez muffed a pretty routine fly ball by Neil Walker to lead off the inning and that left the gates open for the Pirates to strike. They scored one run with a Michael McKenry one out double to left center to score Walker and then scored the final three runs after a Clint Barmes strikeout. Karstens helped his own cause with a run scoring single and then scored on a double to the notch by Jose Tabata.

Karstens was outstanding on the mound tonight. I think it is pretty easy to say that he is the most consistent pitcher on the staff and gives you pretty much the same result each time out. Tonight he went 7.0+ innings and gave up seven hits but didn't walk a single batter and struck out four while only throwing 84 pitches. It wasn't a quick hook by Clint Hurdle but it was a groin injury that forced Karstens out of the game. Not really sure what happened but hopefully Karstens is OK because that would be a pretty big blow to the staff if he had to miss significant time.

The Pirates offense didn't really do anything special tonight but what they did do was take advantage when the Brewers made a mistake. It seems like the past couple of weeks teams have been taking advantage of every Pirates error and the Pirates offense hasn't been able to do the same in return to other teams. Tonight Gomez made a big error to start the fifth inning and the Pirates made them pay with three unearned runs when the Brewers should have been out of the inning. Felt really good.

A guy who had a really good night at the plate was Pedro Alvarez. He went 2-for-3 on the night but he had some really nice at bats. The first at bat of the game might have been the best of the season. He was down 0-2 to Shawn Marcum who previously was dominating the Pirates lineup but spit on pitches and worked the count to full and hit a laser to right field off the wall for a double. I know that Alvarez had a slow start to the season and his batting average is low but he has been getting on base at a great clip despite the low batting average in August. During the month (coming into tonight) he has a 17.1% BB and has a .366 OBP despite only hitting .235 during the month he has been having some great at bats and getting on base. His season might not look like the greatest from the numbers but I think he has definitely made progress.

Some bad news on the night were injuries. Not only did Karstens go off with a possible groin injury but Tabata also left the game in the sixth inning with a groin injury. Earlier in the year he had some groin/hip problems and can probably be responsible for some of his play. Coming into tonight he was performing really well since his call up with a .360 OBP and while that was in a really small sample size he was still giving the Pirates what they so desperately needed which was a solid lead off hitter. He looks much more confident at the plate and was making good things happen and hopefully this was more precautionary than it was an injury. Earlier in the year I don't think that you would say that losing Tabata would be a bad thing but he has been playing well and with Starling Marte still on the DL you need to have Tabata healthy and playing.

The Pirates needed a good start and a well rounded game and that is exactly what they got. The Cardinals lost earlier in the day so they are only one game back in the wild card and a chance to win the series tomorrow. That is all you can ask for.

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