Andrew McCutchen is really good at playing baseball. Last night he carried the Pirates offense, again, with a home run in his third straight game and went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks. He just keeps getting better and right now he is hot. Getting him out seems to be a monumental task at the moment and when McCutchen is playing like this he might be one of the most exciting players in the game to watch.
Starling Marte continues to hit better after a brutal slump. He had two more hits last night but with the good (the hits) came the bad (the base running). Marte was part of a weird set of plays that caused him to get thrown out at third base on a foul pop out by Travis Snider. With Marte on third and Jordy Mercer on first with one out Snider popped out to the catcher and for some reason Mercer tagged up and tried to get into a rundown to score Marte. Marte seemed to be confused as to what the hell Mercer was doing (as was I) and got caught in no mans land to end the inning.
Now I know people are going to be all over Marte and Mercer for this (as they should be) but I think the real problem is that Mercer thought this was OK because Clint Hurdle thinks it's OK. I know Clint Barmes was on the on deck circle but if you think that you will have a better chance to score by running a little league play then letting one of your position players swing the bat then there is a serious problem.
Brandon Cumpton got the start last night as one of the other guys that is going to be in the rotation thanks to the injuries. He went five innings and gave up a pair of runs but wasn't overly good. He got in trouble a good bit in the third and fifth innings but was able to get key outs with runners in scoring position to salvage the win and give a lead to the bullpen. He has had a problem with the second time through the lineup but last night he had some problem the first time through but when push came to shove he was able to get some key outs in big situations. It would be great if he could get deeper into games but all I can ask for is that he gives the team a chance to win, and he did that last night.
The injury bug hit the Pirates again last night. Josh Harrison had to leave the game in the third inning after he banged up his ankle in the first inning. I would doubt that he is back in the lineup tonight considering how he couldn't put a lot of weight on it last night but it is pretty disheartening for another guy to go down. Pretty soon there aren't going to be guys to call up.
The Pirates offense did a pretty nice job of getting runners on base but they once again did a terrible job of getting them in. They had 11 hits on the night coupled with four walks and a hit by pitch and you have a lot of opportunities. They went only 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 10 guys on base. One of these times they are going to break out and they got the win, but this is a pretty frustrating thing to watch.
Getting the win secures at least a split series but tonight they have a chance to get the series win. They will be facing Jeff Samardzija so it is going to be no easy task to get the win but at least they have the chance to win it.