This game was less than ideal. After the excitement of last night you kind of expect this to be a bit of a letdown but that doesn't mean it was easier to watch or take. The Pirates need every win they can get to try and earn home field in the Wild Card game and still an outside shot of winning the division but you can't honestly expect them to win every game.
The story tonight really comes down to Jeff Locke not pitching very well. It was mentioned a ton tonight on the broadcast that it seemed like an every other game type thing with Locke because one start he is lights out and the next start he can barely throw a strike. Tonight it was one of those barely throw a strike nights. He went only four innings tonight giving up six runs on eight hits and five walks. That is 13 base runners in four innings of work. The Braves scored two runs in each the second, third, and fourth innings and that is all they need. Locke probably shouldn't have went out for the fourth inning with the score already 4-0 but it is what it is. I think that if there was a chance for Locke to be the number four starter in the playoffs this outing might have done it. In a five game series, if it gets that far, you can't take the chance of walking five guys in four innings.
The offense really didn't have a lot of pop tonight. Andrew McCutchen went deep for another home run and cut the lead to only four in the fifth inning but the rest of the game was pretty standard. The Pirates did have nine hits on the night but only two of them went for extra bases and when they did get runners on with nobody out they just couldn't do anything with it.
The biggest new of tonight, for me at least, was Russell Martin leaving the game in the bottom of the fourth inning with tightness in his left hamstring. This is the same hamstring that put him on the DL earlier this year so it is a touchy situation. Hamstring injuries are never good because they are so touch and go. Martin is one of the most important players on this team and if this is more serious than a precautionary thing then it's going to be a big problem.
Losses happen, but with things so close it feels like it hurts worse. The Pirates have won eight of their last night before tonight so it's not all bad. Get a win tomorrow and it is all good.