It did not take very long for a large portion of the optimism surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates to plunge out of the city. When the beginning of your season is up against a playoff push for the Pittsburgh Penguins, you better win if you want to keep the interest of the fan base. Well that is something that the Pirates forgot how to do when they flew to the west coast after their opening series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Late on Thursday night (or early Friday morning if you want to be technical), the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a sweep of the Pirates.
Scoring runs were once again an obstacle that prevented the Pirates from winning. They only gave up three runs in the entire game and they all came in the first inning. Jeff Karstens had a rough start to the ballgame. Matt Kemp hit a one out double with Mark Ellis on first base to put two runners in scoring position early. Juan Rivera brought Ellis home with a sacrifice fly to left field after Andre Ethier was put on base when Karstens hit him in the middle of his back with a fastball. James Loney and Juan Uribe followed with back to back RBI singles to give the Dodgers all the offense that they would need.
Chris Capuano seemed like a break in the gauntlet of excellent pitchers that the Pirates have had to face through the first five games of the season. But it turns out that it has been the Pirates' bats that are the problem, not the pitchers they are facing. Capuano was made out to look like a Cy Young contender by getting five of his first six outs via the strike out. The Pirates weren't able to get on the board against him until the fifth inning when Mike McKenry hit his first home run of the season deep to straight away center field.
The comeback continued off of Capuano after he finally came back down to earth in sixth inning. Andrew McCutchen, who went 3-for-3 with a walk in the game, and Casey McGehee hit consecutive singles to start the inning. With McCutchen on third, Yamaico Navarro hit a sacrifice fly to cut the Dodger lead to one run. The sixth inning was the last time that the Pirates would have men in scoring position and they were unable to capitalize. They eventually loaded the bases with two outs in the inning. But Scott Elbert got Matt Hague to fly out to center field on the only pitch that he threw to end the inning.
These west coast trips never seem to go extremely well for the Pirates which is why it is probably good that they are getting it out of the way early in the season. They will participate in the home opener for yet another team on Friday when they face the San Francisco Giants.