Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Memorial Day: The Bucs are now at 11 Ggames under .500, and it's not even June

The Pirates concluded their road trip predictably, with yet another loss, which made them 1-6 on this trip to Cincinnati and Atlanta.

It was a well-played game for a while, but the Pirates aren't going to win many games scoring just two runs.

Mustering just four hits for the entire game, they made Braves starter
Kenshin Kawakami look good. The following is from the Post-Gazette's wrap-up:
"The Pirates weren't able to muster anything except a Garrett Jones single for five innings against Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami, who opened this season with seven consecutive defeats and a loser in nine consecutive decisions. He had gone 16 games, nine losses, one blown save and a save since his last previous victory, Aug. 31, 2009 at Florida. His last previous home victory was more than a year earlier, May 22, 2009 against Toronto. The Pirates have lost 29 of 31 games this season when they trailed after six innings."
As lame as the offense was today, what I found puzzling was how manager John Russell, in a one-run game, let Joel Hanrahan go out for a second inning after he'd pitched a 1-2-3 inning -- the very day after the exact same maneuver backfired, with the only difference being it was Hanrahan today and Brendan Donnelly last night. Weird symmetry, if nothing else, and deja vu all over again.

Maybe it's not Russell's fault -- at some point, the players have to perform -- but in his second inning, Hanrahan walked two batters, then was replaced by
Javier Lopez. It was all over soon enough, as Jason Heyward crushed a Lopez meatball for a two-run triple into the left-center gap.

Watching that at-bat, it was clear catcher
Jason Jaromillo set up way outside for the pitch Heyward slammed for a the game-breaking hit. So, what does Lopez do? He throws it right down the middle and, if anything a bit inside, as Jaromillo actually was lunging back toward Heyward and turning his glove backhand to snare the pitch that Heyward crushed -- right on the barrel of the bat. Heyward wasn't about to miss that mistake, and it was all over.

Game, set, match.

It's the Cubs tomorrow in an afternoon Memorial Day game at PNC Park. Enjoy the game and the Memorial Day holiday -- hopefully, you have the day off, as holidays are supposed to be.

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