Well, that was certainly a pretty shitty and frustrating game to watch. The Pirates offense wasn't very good against Mike Leake and he held them down and the Pirates fell victim to four solo home runs. Great American Ballpark can be categorized as a hitters park with a lot of home runs being hit there but three of the four tonight were just no doubters. Francisco Liriano was pretty good in his start but gave up two solo shots, his first two home run given up this season, and that was about all she wrote.
Andrew McCutchen scored going from first to home on a Russell Martin double in the sixth inning to tie the game but Todd Frazier launched a home run into the stands in left field in the bottom of the inning to serve as the winning run. Watching McCutchen leg out a triple or score from first on a double in the gap is one of the best things to watch on this Pirates team.
The story of the game is going to be the fact that McCutchen was once again plunked and then in the bottom of the ninth inning Aroldis Chapman gave Neil Walker a pitch high and tight. This was a big talking point last year when Chapman hit McCutchen on purpose and the Pirates didn't hit a Red on purpose so I guess this is going to be the storyline the rest of the series.
As you probably know I am not a big fan of the 'beat on my chest' mentality that has become the back-and-forth hit by pitch thing that goes on far too often in games recently. At first this was a little far fetched as I thought that the pitch that hit McCutchen wasn't on purpose and it was just more of a normal hit by pitch. Thanks to the fact of what went on last season it gets blown up a little bit more than it probably should be.
I will say that I think the Chapman buzz of Walker, while I don't think intentional, was more of an issue than the hit by pitch of McCutchen. I guess I just don't subscribe to the fact that if the Pirates come out and plunk Joey Votto or throw at Brandon Phillips that it will automatically make this stupid tough guy routine start or lead to the Pirates somehow magically having unlimited confidence. While I don't agree with it I do understand the point that the Pirates need to stick up for themselves but just hitting one player doesn't make everything just disappear. What happens then when Mat Latos hits a guy, then the Pirates HAVE to hit someone else and it goes on forever. Where is the end?
Anyways, not a good night for the Pirates but the good thing is that where the Pirates excel this year is losing the first game of a four game series and then winning the next three.