Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pirates Game 14 Recap - Pirates 5, Cardinals 0

-Not too much from me here. I could not find a feed anywhere thanks to ROOT showing the Penguins game so I mostly followed the game on gamecast and by keeping the TV on MLB Network for when they would flash to the Pirates game. They did that a little more tonight than normal thanks to the brilliant performance from A.J. Burnett.

-I talked a good bit the last week or so about Burnett and while he has been good for the Pirates they really needed him to step up and throw fewer pitches and work deeper into game. He did exactly that tonight and was able to go seven full innings while striking out eight and not walking a single batter. Burnett carried a no hitter through 6.2 innings and the lone hit he gave up was the only hit the Cardinals were able to get on the night. Burnett can be very, very good when he was on and tonight he was on. He had a perfect game going through 5.1 innings but hit a batter and after that he was still really good. More than the perfect game or no hitter the Pirates really needed one of their starting pitchers to go at least seven innings and Burnett did just that. Hats off to him for not trying to get too cute and running up his pitch count and the Pirates needed a start like this in the worst way.

-The Pirates offense play a little hot/cold game tonight. They were hot at the beginning with four hits in the first inning that included a leadoff triple by Starling Marte but were only able to score one run. Not really ideal when you have four hits and only score a run but a lead was a lead. After that Cardinals starter Shelby Miller settled in and retired the Pirates in order in innings two through five and it wasn't until the sixth inning where the Pirates had someone on base and they were able to knock in an insurance run before scoring another in the seventh and two more in the eighth.

-It was a pretty good lull in the middle of the game for the Pirates offense but they did rack up 11 hits and scored five runs. That brings the team line up to .221/.290/.324 with an OPS+ of 70. Certainly that is not good but a week and a half ago that OPS+ was -1. It was really bad, not it is only bad. The offense is starting to come around and if the Pirates can get their starts to throw a few good games they have a good enough pen to make almost every game a winnable game despite playing a brutal schedule the rest of the month.

-Every Pirates position player but Clint Barmes ended up with a hit tonight. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker each finished with two hits.

-The top half of the Pirates lineup is looking really good but the bottom half is brutally bad. Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin each had a hit tonight but when you add their batting averages together they are only hitting .192. Before the season I said that Barmes had to be better than last year because it couldn't get worse but so far he is only at a .111/.158/.167 and that just has to get better. It has been less than three weeks and this is something that nobody should be shocked by but it is still wildly frustrating and has to improve.

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