Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pirates Game 90 Recap - Cardinals 5, Pirates 4

For the second straight night the Pirates lost on a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. For the second straight night Tony Watson dominated the eighth inning and threw less than 10 pitches (five Monday night, eight last night). For the second straight night Mark Melancon didn't pitch. At all. For the second straight night the offense didn't have a single hit with a runner in scoring position.

Ernesto Frieri was used instead of Melancon. Frieri would probably be one of, if not the last guy I would use in that situation, but here we are. Clint Hurdle will never admit it but Melancon wasn't used because it wasn't a save situation and when you play on the road the visiting team will always have a chance for a save situation if they go up (unlike the home team) so Hurdle likes to save the closer for that. Actually Hurdle said this after the game:

Well that is just great. Good thing there was a next inning. Oh wait, there wasn't. Maybe Hurdle thought that you automatically got a tenth inning if your team didn't score in the top of the ninth in a tie game. That isn't how it works and while Melancon could have gave up a home run, or a run, he was a vastly better option than Frieri. It is true that maybe there  isn't a great deal to turn to in that spot without Watson and Jared Hughes out there but I probably roll the dice with Jeanmar G√≥mez or use Melancon in the ninth and then go with Gomez for a couple of innings. In any case I do not go to Frieri.

This wasn't all about that mistake. This was about the offense too. The Pirates had chances, again, and just didn't capitalize. They went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position with Starling Marte (0-3) and Neil Walker (0-2) combining to not have a hit in five opportunities. I said last night that I am not overly worried about this trend (if you want to call it that) and I am still not but holy hell is it frustrating to watch in games like this.

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