Everyone has heard the saying. “Every team in baseball wins one third of their game and loses one third of their games. What matters is what you do with the rest of them.” Well the Pittsburgh Pirates have taken that a bit too seriously. Maybe I’m the only one that this seems strange to but despite how well the Pirates have played in this historic season, they just refuse to sweep teams.
If they were ever going to get a sweep, tonight was the night to do it. They just came off of a night where they ended their 20 straight losing seasons. They were playing one of the worst teams in the National League. And they had their ace on the mound. The problem was that Francisco Liriano didn’t pitch like an ace tonight. Liriano gave up seven runs in just three innings. On top of that, he also blew a lead. Jordy Mercer gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an infield hit. Liriano gave it right back with a two run home run to Khris Davis. Who the hell spells their name that way? Anyway, Marlon Byrd tied the game back up in the Pirate half of the third as one of his three hits. Liriano blew up in the third inning though. He gave up five runs in what would be his last inning of work. The Pirates were never able to get back into the game after that.
Player of the Game: Aramis Ramirez
There were plenty of Brewers who played very well tonight. Four of their starters had multi-hit nights. But it was Ramirez coming back to haunt his old team which he has been known for over the years. He went 2-for-3 with a walk, drove in two runs, and crossed the plate three times himself. In one way or another, he accounted for five of the Brewers’ nine runs.
Play of the Game: Nick Leyva
Yep. The third base coach is the one who pissed me off tonight. Despite losing by six runs, the Pirates had plenty of opportunities to get back into the game. Another poor coaching decision occurred in the seventh inning when the Pirates loaded the bases with two outs and Clint Hurdle allowed John Buck to hit instead of using a lefty. But that wasn’t the worst thing. In the fifth inning, Justin Morneau was hit up high with a pitch after an Andrew McCutchen home run which caused the benches to clear. No punches were thrown. But the exception that Morneau took with the pitch can be understood considering his concussion history. Byrd followed with a double in the gap. Morneau is not a fast runner, there were no outs in the inning, and the Pirates had already scored a run. Leyva waived Morneau home and the relay throw beat him there by a mile. It killed any momentum that the Pirates had after the HBP dust up. They didn’t score again after that.
Up Next: St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, 8:15pm
The Pirates get a day off tomorrow before they head to St. Louis for another battle for first place. It will be an interesting pitching match-up. A.J. Burnett will get the ball for the Pirates and he has been pretty dominant against the Cardinals this year. He’s 3-0 in five starts against them this year. The Pirates have only lost one of those starts.
Now if you want to talk about dominant pitching performances, it doesn’t get much better than what Joe Kelly has done to the Pirates since he has entered the Cardinals’ rotation. He has two starts against the Pirates. In those two starts, he has two wins and has given up a total of one run.