So two of the worst teams in Major League Baseball come together, and we get an absolute barn burner. Go figure. It’s also been a big week in general for the Bucs personnel wise. Lincoln and Alvarez move up a level which was deserved on both ends from what I understand. Ian Snell also got demoted this afternoon. His idiotic comments notwithstanding (if someone stuck a microphone in my face the day I get a demotion at work, I’d say stupid stuff too), it’s a great move. He needed a mental tune-up, and that’s what the minors are there for. They’re like a body shop when you need some minor detailing done to your game. Going to Indy isn’t always terrible for a player. But, anyway, I’m here for a series recap, and that’s what I shall do.
Game one was not very entertaining for 8 innings. The Indians jumped on Snell early. Ian held them in check for 2 innings, but as soon as trouble hit, he unraveled. He gives up a hit to Gimenez. Huff (in his first career at bat I believe), sac bunts him to second. Carroll gets walked, but still no need to panic. A ground ball ends the inning. Then Grady Sizemore steps up and hits one into the gap in right. Steve Pearce (who only started playing in the outfield this year) takes a horrible route to the ball, it’s gets by him and goes to the wall. The ball was a single all the way that scores 1. Instead, it goes for a triple and 2 runs come home. Steve cost Ian a run. Everyone watching knew it. Ian got frustrated and started missing spots. He walked the next two batters, gave up another hit that brought in two more, and was finally yanked. Using this lead (and adding onto it by a solo shot by Peralta), the Indians were cruising behind the stellar pitching of David Huff. He’s got an ERA of almost 6, but through 8 innings we made him look like Cy Young. So mercifully, in the 9th, the game gets turned over to the worst bullpen in the majors. The Pirate bats finally wake up. Down 5-0 in the 9th, Adam LaRoche hits a seemingly meaningless home run into the Allegheny to lead off the inning. Thanks Adam! But something amazing happens. We start hitting. Everyone starts hitting. We bat around. Suddenly, Adam’s back up with the bases loaded, only down 5-4. He’s got a home run already this inning. All he needs is to shorten his swing, and push one to left to score two and take the lead. The entire defense is playing him as a dead pull hitter. What does Adam do? He tries to kill another one into the river and flies out to right. <smacks head> That should OFFICIALLY cement him as the least clutch player on the Buccos.
Game two was almost the same thing in reverse. Zach Duke returns to old form and throws 6 pretty good innings. The bats wake up for 14 hits and 10 runs. We take a 10-1 lead into the 9th. Steven Jackson gets two quick outs. Then the Indians start hitting, and by hitting I mean putting the ball in the direction of Andy LaRoche who kept committing errors (2 in the inning, but it was close to being 3). The Indians put up 5 runs in the 9th to make it 10-6 before the Pirates finally put in Burnett to get the last out and end the madness.
Game three was the most exciting of all because it was close the whole way through. Cliff Lee was on the hill for Cleveland. He’s a terrific pitcher on an awful team. One of those guys who you have to look at the ERA and disregard the record. He was as good as advertised, but we were able to get 2 runs off him. That was enough to push it to the Indians bullpen with the game tied. If you get to that point with the Indians, you’ve got it made. Their bullpen didn’t disappoint. Matt Herges allowed two quick hits. Jack Wilson stole 3rd (he better remember that moment cuz it won’t happen often), and Andrew McCutchen gets a game winning yank to shallow left. First walkoff of the year for the Pirates. I’ll take it.
The Pirate bats really seemed to come alive in this one. Adam LaRoche hit two home runs in the series. But most of the damage was done against Cleveland’s bullpen. It’s night and day between their starters and bullpen. Kansas City come into town this weekend, and is ripe for another series win. But as for now, I’m just going to bask in the joy of beating Cleveland (even if it was a race to the bottom kind of series).