Saturday, August 04, 2012

Apocalypse Now in the Heart of Darkness (Cincinnati)

"The horror.  The horror!" 

Joseph Conrad wouldn't have blinked, but we wonder how Martin and Charlie Sheen reacted when Andrew McCutchen took a 101-mph-caliber bullet of  fastball from Aroldis Chapman last night at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.  Not cool.

Yes, those Sheens, the father-son Hollywood duo who, according to Pirates' announcer Tim Nevrette, flew to Cincinnati expressly for the weekend series between the Reds and Pirates.

"They were in the hotel lobby," said Nevrette.  "I rode up in the elevator with Martin Sheen.  We talked baseball, a little bit, but what do you say to Martin Sheen?"  

Fellow announcer John Wehner, the "color man" who is about as colorful as charcoal ash, responded, predictably, by mumbling incoherently and sounding bewildered, but that's beside the point.

Back to the game:  Starling Marte misplayed a Chris Heisey drive into an inside-the-park home run, Mat Latos dominated with shutdown pitching, hit a two-run homer for good measure, the Reds turned three double-plays, and then Chapman capped the evening by capping McCutchen.  Insult to injury, and all that.  All in all, an ugly game for the Pirates.

Quelle horreur, indeed.

Tonight's another game, another opportunity.  James McDonald takes the mound tonight for the Bucs.  Let's hope for the best.

There's not much we can do, really, about that pitch from Aroldis Chapman, the loopy Cuban defector (expatriate? exile? refugee?) and hotel-robbery "victim" who generally has good control (of his pitches -- 77Ks vs14 BB for the season), but flings danger with every 100-mph pitch.  One of which, as we say, nailed McCutchen -- a rising fastball interrupted by McCutchen's left should on its way to his head.  Not cool.

Unable to dodge the bullet, McCutchen reacted, well, remarkably stoically.  At first.  It's amazing he was able to walk, but he more or less dusted himself off, glared briefly at Chapman and trotted to first base.  A few minutes later, after Chapman closed out the Reds' 3-0 win, the TV camera caught McCutchen in the dugout, yelling angrily, and understandably so.  "No human deserves that," said the guy on the MLB Network after the game.

Amen.  Let's hope McCutchen is okay, and that the Pirates bounce back and right the ship.