Andrew McCutchen…..power hitter? Seems like it. 4 home runs in the series. 3 in one game. What the heck got into him? I’d love to know. But I guess that’s just the one good note Pirate fans get on the otherwise disappointing series. The new look Pirates looked good out of the gates on Friday. They hit their stride on Saturday. They took and early lead on Sunday and blew it. Then decided that blowing leads was so much fun they do it again on Sunday.
But, alas, back to the beginning on Friday. Ross Ohlendorf had his usual outing, by which I mean he went about 6 innings and then just totally ran out of gas with no warning. If he’s going to be a starter with low stamina, the least he could do is gradually let off so that Russell knows when to warm someone up. Oh, well. Chavez cleaned up his mess, so no harm no foul, I guess. We rolled out 5 pitchers in this game. Taxing your bullpen like that is okay as long as it’s not a habit. Steve Pearce got a home run. Lets hope that’s a sign of the power we’ve been looking for out of him for the past, oh, I don’t know, few years or so. Ryan Doumit had an awful game all around, but since he was the exception on the offense instead of the rule (like usual), we get the W. I’ll take it.
Game two was the Andrew McCutchen show. 3 home runs and a single to go 4 for 5. How long until he’s traded again? Oh, well. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Everyone was hitting the ball hard. Except for Garrett Jones that is. The one proven power hitter in the lineup. He looked like he was swinging for Ohio, and got under a ball to right field twice. I have a sinking suspicion that pitchers are starting to get a book on him, and those home runs will dry up. But once again: oh, well. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Virgil Vasquez pitched, and surprisingly was only half bad. He made it through 5, and was relieved by his co-5th starter: Jeff Karstens. I think when Virgil’s up, Jeff knows to get warmed up really well. I can’t remember the last time Vasquez started and didn’t have to hand the ball off to Karstens for some long relief. You might as well just start Jeff. I don’t get it. Sigh.
Game three was miserable. Paul Maholm was on the mound, and wasn’t getting great run-support, but was taking a 2-1 lead into the 7th inning when the wheels came off and he gives up 3 runs. We lose 5-3. Crap. It’s a shame because Paul’s shown good stuff this year. But this isn’t the first outing this season where he’s run out of gas. Ronny Cedeno flashed some leather in this one (well, all series actually) so he’s at least a serviceable shortstop…..defensively. Offensively, he was known as “rally killin’ Ronny'” in Seattle. I see why after watching him for a weekend. He’s not a strong guy, so all he can do is push out into the short short outfield and hope it finds a hole. He’ll ground into a lot of double plays. Just the facts of life. But at least you know he’s not juicing, right?
Game four was more of the same. McCutchen started the game off with a home run. We put two more across in the 1st inning. Then we couldn’t get out of our own way for the next 7 innings. Ryan Doumit singled in Garrett Jones in the bottom of the 9th, but by then it was already 8-3 with two outs and all but a lost cause. Charlie Morton pitched 6 innings and was throwing extremely well for the first 5, but then gave up 4 runs in the 6th. That seems to be a theme for Pirate starters. Get to about the 6th somewhere and call it a day. I’m not sure if its the training they’re doing that isn’t getting the stamina up enough or what, but this is a staff-wide problem. It’s not just one guy with a quirk. I’m getting worried.
So there you have it. A fantastic AAA series in Pittsburgh ends in a draw. But, on the bright side, the Pirates were able to bring in Jo Dee Messina for a concert on Saturday and give the fans SOMETHING to cheer about. She was very good, by the way. She mentioned Bob Nutting and seemed pretty shocked by the boos. I think she realized pretty quick that she touched on a very sore spot and the best course of action was to not talk baseball. Smart lady. The Diamondbacks are in town for a 3 game series now. Another beatable team. Lets hope we can get a ray of sunshine before the Cards come in over the weekend and clean our clocks. Ugh.