Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pirates Game 45 Recap - Pirates 5, Cubs 4

-For five innings the Pirates offense was getting dominated by Matt Garza. He had them off balance and while they were able to work his pitch count up they just weren't making any good contact and things looked pretty bad. It was Garza's first game of the season so his pitch count was held in check so you knew the Pirate were going to get to the pen. When they did it was all good.

-The Pirates sent 11 men to the plate in the sixth inning and scored five runs which was topped by a pinch hit grand slam by Travis Snider and that was all the Pirates needed. The Cubs had to use three relievers in that inning and they made all of them pay. The offense wasn't good anywhere outside of that but sometimes all you need is one good inning of hitting to get a win and that is what happened.

-Wandy Rodriguez pitch pretty well except for one inning and was able to earn the win. He threw six innings, gave up six hits, and struck out five but all the damage against him came in the top of the second inning. In that inning he gave up all three runs thanks to a Darwin Barney two out single and then a Garza double right after. After that he really got things in check and while he did give up six hits he didn't walk a single hitter and managed the game really well.

-The Pirates only had eight hits on the night but they made the ones they got count. Jordy Mercer had two hits and was the only player with more than one even though he came in as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. Probably the best hitter for the Pirates was Neil Walker. He went 1-for-2 with a double but also walked three times. Walker hasn't been hitting well all season but today he was the only guy who was consistently getting on base.

-The Pirates really needed this win. They get to go against three really tough starters from the Cubs and while a sweep would be nice I think almost everyone would be more than happy with just winning the series. Tomorrow they go against Jeff Samardzija who has always pitched the Pirates tough and is probably one of the most underrated starters in the league. They then go against Edwin Jackson on Thursday afternoon where you could get a great Jackson or one that has n't been great this year.

-I rail against Clint Hurdle a lot, and for good reason, but tonight he made a really nice move that paid off in a big way. With two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning Clint Barmes was coming up to bat but instead of sending Barmes up he decided to go with Snider. It turned out to be a good call as Snider went deep and gave the Pirates the game winning run. Barmes has been swinging the bat really well over the last month so it wouldn't have shocked me to see him bat but Hurdle went with the platoon option and it paid off. Nice move by Hurdle. One I didn't think he would make.

-The Pirates probably had no reason winning this game. The offense has been in a funk recently and if it weren't for Garza just coming off the DL I would assume he might have pitched another inning or two. While they didn't play their best baseball they still go the win and that is good enough for me. All wins count the same and with a tough schedule coming up you have to stack wins any way you can. This is a fun baseball team to watch right now and I am enjoying every minute of it.

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