A big win tonight giving the Pirates a chance to win the series with the D-Backs. Last time I was trying to decide between optimistic and pessimistic, and one would have to lean more toward pessimism now. However, it can still be said that the Pirates have faced some good pitching, the Phillies, and been on a west coast swing, which this young team has not ever dealt well with. They need to learn how to win on the road, but west coast swings are always rough. But those are mostly excuses.
Tonight, they won and they did so in good fashion. They faced Ian Kennedy, another great pitcher, and they hit him around. He was in line for the loss until a two out, 3-2 pitch from Grilli left the yard. Grilli would get the win to make up for it. The Pirate leader did their job. The team had 13 hits and they were mostly from the middle of the order. Four hits for McCutchen, three from Jones including a homer, and multiple hits from Walker. They pushed each other across the plate all night long. McClouth played for Tabata and had one hit. Tabata pinch hit later and got a walk. After losing the lead and having the game tied at 4, Presley got his first hit of the game, an infield one. Pinch hitter McGehee got a base hit to put runners on the corners and McCutchen's fourth hit of the game was a game winning RBI base hit. Even Alvarez did well. He grounded out twice, poped out once, and gave one a ride to the deep part of the park, but was robbed by the center fielder who hurt himself against the wall making the catch. He also had a nice defensive game. No strikeouts. And we should get a nice diet of righties coming up. Last chance for Alvarez in my opinion. He has to turn it on here against these righties because McGehee is playing great ball. Jones is starting to hit, meaning Alvarez needs to go to the bench or to AAA.
Pitching was great considering. Karsten left after the first inning with shoulder inflammation, which might explain his giving up two runs. He was not himself. Jared Hughes went 2.2, and gave up only one. Watson went 2.1 and gave up none. A nice inning by Meek despite only throwing between 92-94. Grilli was rolling until giving up the surprise homer. Then Hanrahan was no where to be seen, not even in the bullpen. The radio guys theorized it was flu. This gave Juan Cruz a save chance, which he converted in nice style.
Sooner or later other have to hit. Barajas and Barmes in particular. There are not other options to play for those guys. They cannot hit under .100 for much longer. McGehee is the option if Alvarez never gets it right. Tabata I do believe will come around. But if not, Gorkys Hernadez is ready for a shot in the minors, and soon so will Marte. The Pirates need to take this series, but for me the real test starts game after next when division play opens against the Cards at home.
Playoff thread: Dodgers try again to finish off Cubs
22 hours ago