It was another series lost for the Bucs, as they dropped two of three to the defending champion San Fransisco Giants. Coming off of a strong 2-1 series win over the Nats, the Pirates just weren't able to get this one. They dropped to 11-14 after the series.
Game 1, Tuesday April 26th: Giants 3, Pirates 2
Bucs Player of the Game: RF Garret Jones - 1-3, HR, RBI, R
The Bucs were only able to muster up a mere five hits in a 10th inning nail-bitter which led to a Giants 3-2 win. Garret Jones connected for his fourth homer on the season, and Matt Diaz also added a double. Lyle Overbay, Neil Walker, and Ryan Doumit were the only others to connect for a hit. Getting on base was hard to come by for both teams, and ultimately both sides just weren't seeing the ball well. The bats just weren't there, although the pitching came to play for the Pirates.
Charlie Morton made his fifth start of the season, pitching a solid six innings, only allowing one run, four hits, three walks, and struck out three. He brought his ERA down to 3.00 from 3.33 after a shaky outing against the Marlins. He looked very sharp on the mound and continues to show that he has no plans of going back to his last season struggles.
The bullpen also showed up, with Chris Resop an inning of scoreless ball with a strikeout. The one dark spot in the pen was Evan Meek, who didn't record an out and let up a run and two hits. Jose Veras and Joe Beimel took the next two innings, and were both very solid, not allowing any runs. Joel Hanrahan came out in the top of the 10th and let up an unearned run, but still looked sharp, just allowing one hit and the unearned run while striking one out.
Game 2, Wednesday April 27th: Giants 0, Pirates 2
Bucs Player of the Game: SP James McDonald - 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO
Andrew McCutchen put up an 0-fer for the second game in a row, but only two runs was enough as the pitching bailed out the lackluster hitting. Steve Pearce recorded his first double of the season, who went 2-3 on the night. Neil Walker also had a nice night, going 2-4 with a run scored. Chris Snyder and Jose Tabata each went 1-4 with an RBI. The hitting improved a bit on the last game, but the pitching was the real star of the night.
After many shaky starts, James McDonald came out firing on all cylinders. He went six solid innings, not allowing a run and only letting up four hits. He also walked four and struck-out three. This was a pleasant surprise from McDonald after very many outings in which he was very hittable. After this gem, his ERA was still 7.66, which goes to show how hard he has been hit before this game so far this season.
The bullpen was just as stellar, as Crotta, Beimel, and Resop all combined for two innings of work without allowing a run. Joel Hanrahan came in for the save in which he only let up one hit and no runs to hold the 2-0 shutout win and notch save #7 on the year.
Game 3, Thursday April 28th: Giants 5, Pirates 2
Bucs Player of the Game: 2B Neil Walker - 3-4, 2B, R, RBI
Neil Walker had three-fourths of the Pirates hits and half of their runs in a 5-2 loss to the Giants. He was the only hitting that woke up and decided to play today as the Pirates were only able to muster together four hits and they somehow came away with two runs. The only other hit came from Garret Jones. Walker hit an RBI double and Ryan Doumit added a sac RBI. The pitching really didn't perform much better.
After a 2-0 start filling in for injured Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens hoped to continue it, but that didn't happen. Karstens really didn't pitch all that badly, only allowing two earned runs, but it was the errors that destroyed him. The Bucs committed four errors on the game, Karstens being one of those, trying to make a pick-off throw. It was an overall ugly situation, considering the Bucs practically gave three runs to the Giants.
Daniel McCutchen pitched the rest of the game, only allowing three hits and no runs. Although the hitting never really woke up for the Bucs, and it ended in a disappointing 5-2 loss. The Pirates are going to NEED to shape up on easy defensive plays if they want to get anywhere near .500 come the end of the season. As a young team, there is very little margin for error.
Overall Series Grade: C+
Overall Hitting: C
Overall Pitching: B+
It wasn't a terrible series from the pitching perspective, but when it came to getting on base, the Bucs just weren't able to do it. I was VERY pleased with the pitching, especially the bullpen and James McDonald. The fielding is going to need work after that terrible game earlier today. Overall, not a terrible series considering we lost it 2-1.
Next Series: @ Rockies
Friday April 29th, 8:40 pm est. - Kevin Correia (PIT, 3-2) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (COL, 3-1)
Saturday April 30th, 8:10 pm est. - Paul Maholm (PIT, 1-3) vs. Jason Hammel (COL, 2-1)
Sunday May 1st, 3:10 pm est. - Charlie Morton (PIT, 2-1) vs. Esmil Rogers (COL, 3-1)