Saturday, May 8, 2010
Frustrating Loss to Cardinals
Last night's 4-3 loss to the Cardinals was one of the more frustrating we will probably see all season. With all of the blowouts and 20-0 beat downs we have witnessed so far this season, last night was probably the first time all season that the Bucs truly gave a game away.
Sure there were two errors, one each by Ronny Cedeno and Andy Laroche that led to three unearned runs against Zach Duke, who otherwise threw a pretty good ballgame.
Sure Chris Capenter threw a good ballgame for the Cardinals, but the Pirates had chances, but couldn't get that extra hit in an inning to cause any damage, leaving 11 runners on base in the process.
Sure Laroche made a huge base running blunder in the 8th that killed what should have been a big inning for the Pirates.
Despite all that, this game should have been won by the Pirates except for one big huge liability- John Freakin Russell. Good ol' Jr cost them this one.
Two big calls by JR practically ripped a victory away from the Pirates. First if all in the fifth, with 2 outs, Russell has Laroche in motion and he is thrown out easily trying to steal second. I didn't like this call at all. Not with Andrew McCutchen up at the plate and Garrett Jones following. Laroche scores anyway from first on a gap shot with 2 outs. I will buy the fact that he was trying to get Laroche in scoring position or that even if he was thrown out, Cutch would lead off the next inning, but why risk that there?
All your doing is assuring that your best hitter will be batting with no one on base. If you have Cutch batting third, let him swing the stick with a runner on base. Jones has been hot as well. Instead of a potential two-out rally, Jr ran them out of the inning. There are times to pick your spots and run that helps win ball games and Russell just hasn't figured that out in three years.
The big blow from Russell came in the 9th though. After Joe Mather stole second (great slide by Mather, but Aki Iwumara has to make that tag). With a runner on second and first base open, JR elects to pitch to Yadier Molina. Molina is a Pirates killer and had already reached base in his first four at bats. What the hell are they pitching to him there for? Even when the count got to be 2-0 and then 3-0, I thought for sure they would put him on. Of course not. Molina laced the game winning double to right center.
Why in the world is he pitching to him there? That's just bad baseball and even worse managing and it cost the Pirates a game they should have won.