Surging Pirates Hit A Speed Bump in South Philly, Lose 4-3
"I’ve come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen." - Hall of Fame Pitcher Bob Lemon
Another night, another one-run game the Bucs end up on the wrong side and you can’t help but feel like last night’s affair was another win (along with about 15 others throughout the season) that got away. The good people over at Bucs Dugout have some great overviews of last night’s events at Citizens Bank Park. Check it out here & here.
Once again, the Pirates get owned by unlikely heroes, this time it took the form of Maikel Franco (3B), Freddy Galvis (SS) & David Buchanan (P). They came into the game hitting .133, .085 & .034 respectively, but went a combined 6 for 8 at the plate last night, with 2 doubles, a home run and 13 total bases between them.
A number of key miscues turned into runs for the Phillies or halted potential rallies for the Pirates. In the bottom of the first inning Neil Walker lost a pop out in the lights. In the top of the second inning Russell Martin got thrown out at 2nd base trying to turn a single into a double.
The Pirates had baserunners in the 5th, 7th and 9th innings and went an abysmal 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. To add insult to injury, Starling Marte (who’s red hot by the way) had a home run call reversed into a ground rule double (didn’t clear wall but fan interfered preventing ricochet that may have resulted in a triple) in the 5th and was left stranded. Gregory Polanco made all the way the 3rd base in the top of the 9th but ended up being the 10th and final Pirate left on base for the game. Manager Clint Hurdle said post-game: “We had 3 different inning where a base hit would have played well for us. We didn’t get it.”
The best news of the night was that the Braves and Brewers lost as well keeping the Pirates 1.5 games up in the standings with 18 games to go. In other news, Charlie Morton’s hip is bothering him and his role down the stretch is unclear at this juncture and Edinson Volquez was quite miffed about being taken out after 6 innings of work. He was quoted as saying “Only 90 pitches…I was ready to go. I threw 82 in my last one. I threw 90 today. I was more than ready to go.” The Trib has also has a solid piece on the game and a frustrated Eddie V.
I know I lead this with a quote from Bob Lemon about bullpens, and they had their share in the loss with Justin Wilson giving up the winning run in the top in the 7th inning. While the frustration with the bullpen is clear and present, I wanted to unwrap other elements of the game that may have been overlooked due to the vitriol that exists for the bullpen right about now. Don’t get it twisted thought this bullpen have been increasing the heart rate of the Bucco faithful all season with no end in sight. Here’s to hoping something comes over this bullpen soon and gets them more consistent. In addition to that, let’s hope this was just a road bump on the way to the wildcard and the Braves and Brewers continue to fade. These last 18 games will be interesting…