-McDonald was just lost. Literally had no idea where any of his pitches were going and while five of the eight runs he gave up were unearned that should not make it seem like he had anything that came close to resembling a good outing. He was able to get out of the first inning only giving up one run thanks to some terrible Cardinals base running and the Pirates even tied the game up for JMac in the bottom half of the inning. The second inning was like what you might see if you bring up a guy that has average stuff for a high school JV team and throw him on the mound. McDonald gave up five hits and walked two in giving up seven runs. It was just your run of the mill base hits, it was balls hammered into the gap. Over and over.
-Maybe the most disconcerting part of McDonald's continued struggle is that he has lost a lot of velocity off his fastball and for a guy that relies on that fastball a lot that is not a good thing. I am not sure what it is but last year he was sitting around 93 with his four seam and this year entering tonight it averaged 90 and he was only really getting in the high 80's tonight. Not good.
-The Pirates offense has some pretty good mojo going for them recently. They weren't able to make the comeback tonight but even making this interesting was comforting. They didn't lay down and while they were down nine runs they chipped away every inning. They really left some chances on the table with at least two innings in the middle of the game where they had a pair of runners on and less than two outs and didn't score but despite that they were within a swing of making this a one run game in the 8th inning. They are striking out a little less (six tonight) and taking a few more pitches (four walks tonight) and putting some pressure on the defense. Sure, they left ten men on base and only went 4-of-16 with runners in scoring position but before the game if you gave me 12 hits and six runs from the offense I probably would have taken it and told you it would be a win. Too bad it wasn't.
-The starters have to start working deep into games:
Pirates starters 63.2 IP in 13 games. 4.9 IP/G. Only ahead of league worst San Diego / Minn. by .1baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/20…— David Manel (@DavidManel) April 16, 2013
You just can't rely on your pen that much. The pen has been really good for the Pirates but you can't expect them to come out and cover four or five inning every single night and expect to win. The offense was a huge concern coming in but I know a fair number of people had a lot of questions about the staff and they had a right to have questions about it.
-Starling Marte had three hits to up his line to .370/.404/.519. Neil Walker and Jose Tabata each had two hits despite Tabata getting both of his as he came in as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning.
-Bryan Morris got his first work of the year and pitched three scoreless innings. He did walk three batters but didn't give up a hit.
-Justin Wilson gave up a pair of runs and was a little bit all over the place but in 3.1 innings of work he gave up only one hit. Not too bad from Wilson who has been good all season.