AJ Burnett pitched well, but the Pirates offense hasn’t woken up yet. Facing the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw didn’t help, of course. He pitched 7 innings and allowed just 2 hits.
AJ needed 108 pitches to get through 5.1 innings, but he only allowed 1 run off 4 hits and 4 walks. That run came in the 3rd inning with 2 outs on back-to-back singles by Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis. AJ followed that by striking out Matt Kemp to end the inning. After another Matt Kemp strikeout in the 6th inning, AJ gave up a single to Adrian Gonzalez and walked Andre Ethier. After striking out 9 Dodgers batters, AJ’s day was over. “He came to play like he always does,” Clint Hurdle said after the game. “He was amped up early. You saw the velocity on his fastball. His breaking ball was sharp.”
Jared Hughes came in to get out of the jam. He gave up 1 hit but then got 2 outs on a popout and groundout and didn’t allow a run to score. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th, respectively, both of them pitching out of jams as well. “Tonight we got in some jams, and we made pitches to get out of them,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates managed 2 hits tonight, both off of Kershaw, both off of Starling Marte’s bat. Marte’s first hit came in the 1st inning, but some bad baserunning judgement ended up getting him tagged out at 3rd on a fielder’s choice hit by Andrew McCutchen. Marte’s second hit came with 2 outs in the 6th inning, but the next batter flied out. Russell Martin walked with 2 outs in the 7th inning with Pedro Alvarez coming to the plate after him. However, Martin was picked off 1st base, ending any chance of scoring there. “With Marte, that’s a bad baseball decision, and Martin got picked off,” Hurdle said. “Those are mistakes you don’t want to make, but we made them.” Neil Walker drew a walk against Dodgers closer Brandon League with 2 outs in the 9th, but Pedro Alvarez struck out to end the game.
Pirates pitchers have allowed just 10 runs collectively in 5 games so far in 2013, but the Pirates offense has only managed to score 6 runs in those 5 games. They haven’t hit a homerun yet. The finger can’t be pointed at any one player. They’ve faced some good pitching, they’ve gotten a few hits (not enough yet, of course), but they haven’t really hammered the ball or gotten hits at the right time in order to piece something together.
Jeff Locke makes his first start of 2013 tomorrow for the Bucs. They’ll face Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. It’s his first season in MLB. He’s made one start so far this year and lost, giving up 3 runs, 1 earned, in 6.1 innings. Maybe the Pirates can hit him up for a few more tomorrow?
It’s early, and I still believe.