Saturday, April 28, 2012

Game 19: Pirates vs. Braves Recap

The Pittsburgh Pirates returned to the scene of the crime. We are all aware that the Atlanta Braves were the team that beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19 inning marathon last July that began the Pirates' downward spiral. Not to mention the Braves are also the team to start the 19 years of losing for the Pirates. The never ending nightmare continued when the Pirates strolled into Turner Field for a wraparound series against the Braves on Friday night.

A.J. Burnett got his second start in a Pirate uniform and was once again excellent. The only hiccups in the game for him came from one of the issues that has plagued him his entire career and that is control. Burnett only gave up two runs in the game and both guys that scored were walked by Burnett. Tyler Pastornicky was issued a leadoff walk in the third inning and later scored on a single by Martin Prado. Then in the fourth inning, Jason Heyward was walked with two outs in the inning and he scored on a single by Pastornicky.

In between the two runs by Atlanta, Andrew McCutchen played a big role in providing the Pirates with their only offense in the game. He led off with a single off of Tommy Hanson (who has the most annoying windup of any pitcher ever) and stole second base. Garrett Jones brought him around to score with a single. Later in the inning, the Pirates blew a bases loaded opportunity when Rod Barajas grounded into a double play. That would be the last time that the Pirates would have a runner in scoring position.

Burnett was relieved in the seventh inning by Tony Watson after throwing 94 pitches and striking out eight Braves. Watson did not have the same success and Evan Meek, who relieve him, was even worse. Watson walked both Freddie Freeman and David Ross with a runner on first to load the bases with just one out in the inning. Meek was called upon on promptly gave up a two run double to Dan Uggla and a two run single to Chipper Jones. Given, Watson got the Pirates into the situation but Meek did nothing to get them out of it.

The game was the first time this year that the Pirates allowed more than five runs in a game. But ultimately, the bigger problem lies in the fact that they aren't going to win too many games only scoring one run. Pedro Alvarez had another decent game by drawing two walks but he's never going to see many pitches to hit if he's the only guy that scares opposing pitchers. Might be time to get him into the heart of the order and see if he's going to sink or swim.

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