This was a pretty tough one to swallow. Going into the game I didn't really have that much faith that the Pirates were going to win since Wandy Rodriguez was coming back from the DL and Miller Park is pretty much the worst park for him to pitch in.
In a pretty shocking turn Rodriguez pitched pretty well as he went five innings giving up two runs on four hits and striking out four. He did give up two runs but this is way more than I expected. Before going on the DL Rodriguez didn't look all that good His vela was way down and nothing was working. Yesterday he looked a lot better as he was averaging 90 with his fastball and was locating his pitches pretty well. The two home runs suck but in that ballpark that is about the status quo. Hopefully this means better things ahead for Rodriguez, because they couldn't have got much worse from earlier this year.
The pen was outstanding. OK, let me rephrase that Justin Wilson and Tony Watson were amazing. With Rodriguez going only five innings the Pirates needed some big time coverage. All Wilson did was come in and throw two perfect innings while striking out the last four batters he faced. Watson came in and gave up only a single hit in an inning of work while striking out two. The Pirates needed this in a huge way.
It all came to an end in the ninth inning. Mark Melancon had walked only one hitter all season and he gave up a base hit to start the inning and then walked the next two batters. With the bases loaded and no outs he gave up a single to Khris Davis and that was all she wrote.
After the game a lot of people were using hindsight to say that Melancon shouldn't have been in the game. I have zero problem with Melancon being in the game. I do have a problem with the 'closer' idea in baseball but MM pitching there wasn't nearly as big of a deal as a lot of people made it out to be. Maybe Watson should have been the one back out there but there is zero way to predict that Melancon would be that bad. It seems like a "shit happens" kind of game for him and it just sucks it happened now. I am not saying that Melancon is the best guy for the closers role but having him in after Wilson and Watson covered three innings is not a big deal. At all.
The offense got only three hits but they did just enough against Yovani Gallardo. Tony Sanchez hit a two run bomb in the fifth inning to take the lead and after Milwaukee tied it Gaby Sanchez went deep. Not the two guys you thought would be leading the offense but sometimes that is what you need.
Winning this series wouldn't have been huge. They didn't do that and are now further back in the standings. That sucks.