The bad news is tonight’s game was rough. “They outplayed us again tonight,” Clint Hurdle said after the game. The Pirates left 17 runners on base, blowing far too many scoring opportunities. Erik Bedard gave up 4 runs, and Juan Cruz gave up 1. The Pirates’ first 2 hitters, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker, were a collective 0-7. The only time both reached base was in the 1st inning on a HBP and a walk, respectively. They were the last baserunners of the inning as Phillies starter Vance Worley got 3 quick outs. “He did a good job tonight. We just couldn’t quite get enough off of him,” Michael McKenry said. The Pirates struck out 8 times. A close play at the plate in which McKenry tried to score did not go in the Pirates’ favor.
The good news is Tony Watson came on to pitch in the 8th with 2 runners left by Cruz and once again pitched out of a jam. He has been incredible this year, and the damage could have been much worse without him. Michael “Fort” McKenry, getting the start in place of the injured Rod Barajas, was 3-3 with 2 RBIs and a solo homer (apparently he COULD get enough off of Worley). Andrew McCutchen was 2-4 with a run scored. Drew Sutton, pinch-hitting in his Pirates debut, doubled in a run in the 7th. The team quickly demonstrated the Zoltan sign for him. Rod Barajas is not going to the disabled list. He’s sore when he doesn’t move around enough but was smiling during an interview earlier today, saying he’s day-to-day and the plan is to “wake up and see how I feel.” If Eric Fryer, who was called up today just to be safe, gets to play, just know that he’s one of the hardest-working players I’ve ever seen. He started a couple games in Buffalo this year and was out there before anyone else, coaches and opposing players included, doing his stretches and getting ready so he could give his pitcher and his team his all.
The series is a 4-game series. That’s good news and bad news, because as much as we’d all love to get out of Philadelphia, it also means we haven’t lost the series. We have 2 games to go, and our next 2 starters are James McDonald and AJ Burnett. We all know how beautifully they’ve pitched for the Buccos this year. Rod Barajas has become the official catcher for both, and there has been talk of Rod being ready to catch for one or maybe both of them. Both pitchers would appreciate that, although tonight showed that Fort can handle the job quite well too.
The Pirates fell to 38-35 with tonight’s loss, putting them in 3rd place since both the Reds and Cardinals won.
Hurdle gave his starter some credit tonight, pointing out that Bedard was “pretty efficient with his pitches, changed speeds well,” and “he gave us a chance to win.” Looking ahead, the Pirates will hopefully capitalize more on those opportunities. It’s also unlikely that they’ll have too much of a run deficit to overcome. Splitting a series with the Phillies in Philadelphia wouldn’t be the end of the world.