Hey guys! It's been a while since I have been here with a recap. I know you guys probably missed me a ton (probably not) but never fear because I am back just in time to do a game recap and then probably not do another one through the holiday weekend. The Pirates have been quietly winning a lot of series and are now four games over .500 for the first time all year and briefly were in second place in the NL Central before St. Louis won later last night. For as bad as the Pirates were earlier this year they are just as good right now and while the rest of the NLC is winning games and not allowing the Pirates to gain a ton of ground they are still able to keep pace. That is a huge thing.
If you watched the game last night it probably felt like the Pirates were up by a ton of runs early. Gregory Polanco pretty much carried the offense at the onset and the offense chased starter Chase Anderson (pun intended) after only 3.2 innings so this should have been a breeze of a game. It really wasn't. After the Pirates took a 3-0 lead on a Polanco home run in the second inning the offense kinda went to sleep. Arizona scored a run in the third inning and it was really a 3-1 game for much of the night.
That was OK though because Charlie Morton battled some early game ineffectiveness and tossed six innings giving up only the one run on five hits. He did walk three batters but he threw only 93 pitches and if Clint Hurdle wanted to Morton probably could have go through seven innings. Here is the thing about Morton, you know he is going to have that one speed bump of an inning and early it looked like one of those innings was going to happen. It didn't though. He battled hard and despite throwing a lot of pitches early (42 through the first two innings) he was able to keep things in check and put up a good start.
The nice thing about Morton this year is that he seems to have figured out how to pitch to left handed hitters. Entering last nights game Morton had been markably better against lefties (.232/.315/.314) than he has been against righties (.247/.340/.363). That is a stark contrast to the rest of his career where lefties hit .313/.395/.469 and righties hit .251/.319/.347. If he can keep up that pace this year then he is going to be a much better pitcher and able to withstand some of the wildness than he has shown in some of his starts. Teams are still going to stack the lineup with lefties but right now I think that is an alright thing for Chaz.
As I said before the offense started out hot and had guys all over the bases against Anderson. The real problem was that they went only 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 11 guys on base for the night. The Pirates left a pair of runners on in the third inning, the bases loaded in the fourth, and two more in the fifth. They had guys all over the place but they couldn't get that one hit to really bust the game open.
They finally got some insurance runs in the eighth inning when Starling Marte doubled home a run and then Andrew McCutchen singled him home. Those runs at the time didn't seem overly important but when the Diamondbacks got a pair of runners on base in the ninth inning it was nice to have those insurance runs so I didn't have to sweat out another bullpen implosion.
The talk of the game though is Polanco. The ball he hit out of the park was maybe three inches above his shoe laces.
Nobody should be able to hit that pitch out. His double was just as pretty as he took a pitch maybe 10 inches inside and raked it off the wall in right field. If you don't want to watch the video this is where the pitch ended up that he hit:
That is impressive. He also walked once and finished 2-for-4. This kid is pretty good at playing baseball.