Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pirates Game 18 Recap - Pirates 4, Braves 2

-The Pirates got greedy today and gathered four runs and ten hits and overcame some shaky pitching to take three of four wins from the Braves, a team that was 12-2 coming into the four game series, and finished a home stand against the Reds, Cardinals, and Braves with a 7-2 record. Just an unreal series and home stand for a team that was brutally bad to start the season and had a lot of people wondering if it was going to be a 55 win season.

-Jonathan Sanchez really wasn't very good. He only lasted three innings and gave up four hits and two runs but he just wasn't good. He threw 74 pitches in those three innings and walked three hitters and just continued not to give the Pirates much of a chance. To be honest the Pirates are really lucky they were only down two runs as he was able to wiggle out of bigger trouble as his innings ended. It was actually good on Clint Hurdle to take him out when he did with the score still tied.

-The pen just did a bang up job the rest of the way out. It probably wasn't as ideal as you would like it but Jeanmar Gomez pitched 2.1 scoreless innings while Justin Wilson and Jared Hughes got the Pirates through seven innings. The Bucs were a guy down as Mark Melancon wasn't available because he had pitched the last two days. Now that in itself isn't bad but on Friday Melancon was brought in the 8th inning when the Pirates were up 6-0 to pitch to a few guys and because of that he wasn't available today. He shouldn't have thrown Friday and while it didn't bite the Pirates today because Tony Watson came in and did a really nice job it could hurt them in the future.

-Travis Snider continues to play really good baseball all the way around. Two more hits today for Snider in three at bats with another double. His plate discipline has been really good and hopefully he can keep this up.

-Clint Barmes has been really bad this year but today he stepped up when the team needed him. He had a pair of hits and with both of those hits he drove in runs. he came up to bat in big situations and with the pitchers spot behind him it was really all up to him to make something happen and he did. I don't expect this to be something that is going to start happening more and more but it was nice to see him contribute and be a big part in the win today.

-Russell Martin also with two more hits today and a run driven in. His line is up to .216/.333/.353. He also was really good defensively as he threw out two would be base stealers on strikeouts. That is right, there were two strike 'em out throw 'em outs today from the Pirates. Last season the Pirates couldn't throw out runners if their lives depended on it and it killed them but this year the pitchers are doing a much better job of keeping runners at bay and there should be no discussion on if Martin is better than anything they had a year ago. It is fun to see.

-While we can really smile the Pirates pitchers really need to cut back on the free passes. The staff as a whole is walking 4.22 hitters per nine innings which is dead last in the league. While they are able to strand a lot of those runners that isn't something that they should always rely on. It will come back to bite them but thankfully it didn't in this series. They need to start throwing more strikes and quit putting free runners on base.

-After a big home stand the Pirates now go on the road where they will take on the Phillies, Cardinals, and Brewers for a total of ten games. Worry about thinking about it tomorrow. Enjoy the great nine games the Pirates just went through.

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