Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pirates Game 40 Recap - Pirates 3, Brewers 1

-The Pirates only had four hits on the night and so far in the series they were dismal with runners in scoring position but all it took was one Neil Walker bases loaded hit in the sixth inning and a really strong outing from Wandy Rodriguez for the Pirates to claim back-to-back victories over the Brewers for the first time in what seems like ever. Actually the Pirates have won three of their last four games against the Brewers dating back to last series and just typing that out kind of seems unbelievable, but believe it.

-Rodriguez was really good tonight. He went seven innings and gave up six hits and a walk but didn't allow a run until the top of the seventh inning when he gave up a bomb to Rickie Weeks. It didn't much matter as the Pirates already had a two run lead and Wandy was dealing so while most times that would make me feel really uneasy I didn't feel that way tonight. Maybe the time in the game you really knew he was feeling good came in the fourth inning when Jonathan Lucroy tripled to leadoff the inning but Rodriguez got both Carlos Gomez and Weeks to pop up in the infield before getting Alex Gonzalez to ground out. Most of the time a team is going to drive that run in and with Wandy not being a strikeout pitcher I had already resigned myself to the Pirates being down but he did a great job to get out of the inning. He did give up some hits and some runners but he was in control of the Brewers lineup the entire game and it was fun to watch.

-The late inning combo of Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli is just almost unfair at this point. They didn't allow a single base runner as they came on after Rodriguez left and struck out three batters between them and both threw 14 pitches each. It is awesome to know that if the starter on that given day can give you seven good innings and the offense can get a lead that it is pretty much automatic.

-It feels like I talk about it every recap but oh man is Russell Martin turning out to be an unreal sign from this offseason. The play that sticks out in my mind was when he wanted Wandy to throw a breaking ball waste pitch and he did and got a strikeout. Martin was able to block the pitch and while it squirted away he was able to get up quickly and throw an off-balanced strike to Gaby Sanchez for the out. Nobody the Pirates had in the past would have been able to do that. Also while the home plate umpire was pretty bad all night Martin framed his pitchers numerous pitches tonight. It is just so much fun to watch him play defense. Maybe I was set up for this by the just dreadful defensive ability of anyone behind the plate the last 15 years but whatever.

-The Pirates offense wasn't overly good and they only had four hits on the night. They have struggled with runners in scoring position and while they were only 1-for-7 tonight it was that one that counted the most. It was good that they got the good pitching performance and they were able to win a game against a team they haven't been able to beat with only four hits. They will have ups and downs and tonight was one of the offensive downs.

-With Jordy Mercer on the team there really isn't a reason Brandon Inge should play. Just throwing it out there.

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