Before you go into any series the goal should be to win the series. The Pirates did that. They weren't very good today but the fact of the matter is that the Pirates won two of the three games and they are tied for the lead in the NL Central. Cool.
Today was decided early. Kris Johnson got beat up pretty bad and only made it through two innings giving up seven hits, five runs, and walking two. He didn't have command and it really killed him. I had some discussions on Twitter with some people about why Johnson started the game and while some people made good points, in hindsight, it really wasn't that big of a deal that he started. The first is that it was Johnson's turn in the rotation. What I mean by that is that he was scheduled to pitch today. I know people were moaning for Jeanmar Gomez to pitch, but he wasn't stretched out to pitch. Sure you could have thrown him out there but he might have thrown 50 or so pitches he would have gone three, maybe four, innings and turn into into a bullpen by committee game. You couldn't expect Gomez to throw 75 or 80 pitches. This isn't a video game, this is real life and players need stretched out.
Now, it turns out that the game was about the bullpen covering a ton of innings but you didn't know that coming in. If Gomez starts you knew you were going to have to cover six or seven innings. Johnson is a starting pitcher who came in a few weeks ago and pitched six strong innnings for the Pirates in relief. Also, Johnson is a left. Want to know how the Cardinals, as a team, hit against left handed pitchers? .236/.293/.374. Go ahead, read that again. Those are a few reasons why Johnson started and I have no problem with it. Hindsight is always 20/20 but you can't come back and say this was a terrible decision because it wasn't.
Outside of that this was just one of those games. The Cardinals had 13 hits to the Pirates' six and while the Pirates had a few opportunities they never really threatened in the game. Marlon Byrd had a pair of hits but that was as far as it got for the Bucs.
It happens. Turn the page and get ready for Milwaukee.