Watched the game on Fox Sports Network tonight. Ross Ohlendorf had a rough start giving up a run on three straight hits. Nothing was crushed. That would happen later. But I was impressed with his mental toughness when he struck out Jayson Werth with runners on second and third with one out. He also got Raul Ibanez looking for the last out of the first inning.
During the game, Joe Kerrigan said they “had sped up Ohlendorfs’ delivery.” They had felt he had become to mehanical.
Andrew McCutchen hit a double off Phillies leftie Cole Hamels and then scored on a Garrett Jones single. Jones took second and then scored on yet another key situational Lastings Milledge single. With Pirate President Frank Coonelly talking about No.85′s off season work on his speed, Milledge stole second with a head-first slide on a wide throw. Jeff Clement drilled, I mean drilled a single to score Milledge.
Ohlendorf noticeably started reaching back and firing, picking up speeed on his fastball. He seemed to be trusting it. (Later, Kerrigan would say he touched 93) He moved along quickly until Chase Utley hit a long single to the left field gap that Milledge cut off. Ohlendorf then got a fastball up to Ryan Howard. He deposited it in the left field stands. It tied the game 3-3.
In the fourth, Ohlendorf was cruising. He had thrown six pitches and had two quick outs. On the seventh pitch Brian Schneider crushed a ball off the top of the fence in right field. Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick hit a high fly ball to left field about ten feet from the line. After a long run from his placement in left center, Lastings Milledge dove at the ball and it bounced off his glove. It was ruled a double and the Phillies scored the go ahead run, 4-3. Jimmy Rollins grounded out for the final out, but not before a towering foul ball fell behind Clement which should have been the final out. Unreal. (I must write Ohlendorf came charging off the mound to try and catch it, he slowed as Clement zeroed in on it. Clement didn’t get an opportunity to even open his first baseman’s glove.)
Ohlendorf threw 64 pitches through four innings.
Phillies starting rotation pitcher Kendrick was impressive in the fourth and fifth innings as he shut down six straight Pirates.
Chase Utley crushed a solo one-out shot in the fifth inning. It made Ross’ neck hurt. Werth took one of the wall in RF an out later. Ibanez would ground out on a sweet play by Ronny Cedeno.
Ohlendorf was finished after five innings. He threw 83 pitches including 24 in the first inning. He had some moments where he simply wanted it more and whether you are a believer in Ohlie or not, he has the ability to win 15 games. It’s not like he will be facing the Phillies lineup every outing. He showed it to me with his approach against Werth which included a few nasty sliders to Werth that resulted in a strikeout and a pop-up to the mound.
Javier Lopez came on to relieve Ohlie. He stranded runners on second and third for a scoreless inning.
DJ Carrasco issued a lead off walk to start the seventh. It was the first Pirates walk of the game for the Bucs staff. John Raynor made a nice playto get DJ’s first out on a ball hit to the wall in center. Raynor, fighting to make a roster spot had a single in the sixth. Carrasco had a nasty K to end the seventh when he dropped down nearly submarine style. If he doesnt make this squad, I won’t be happy. I have been impressed with his stuff.
Evan Meek came on to pitch the eighth inning. He quickly got a ground out from Wise. Starting catcher Carlos Ruiz came in as a pinch hitter and fell behind in the count 0-2. Then on a 1-2 breaking ball, he popped out to Chase D’Arnaud at second base. He then got another ground out on a breaking pitch to wrap up a 1-2-3 eighth for the Bucs.
Danys Baez, a very important part of the Phillies bullpen with our beloved Brad Lidge on the DL, came in to close out the ninth. Ramon Vazquez led off with a single. Baez got JHammer swinging. Miles Durham, a Northwestern State University alum, dribbled back to the mound for the second out. D’Arnaud was robbed of an extra base hit to end the game on a shot hit down the third base line. It would end the game for the NL Champs. 5-3.
The Bucs had three runs on eleven hits.
Aki Iwamura reminded me of Freddy Sanchez. Free swining. First pitch swinging. Ugh.
Kerrigan also said Brendan Donnelly and Octavio Dotel give the bullpen, “a sense of toughness.”
The FSN broadcast seemed improved with some nice shots around the city between innings. But Brownie and Blass didn’t even talk about the propects who filled up the Pirates defense late in the game. Odd. But we did learn where Jim Croces’ plane crashed.
The dugout interview: Andrew McCutchen said, “every time I get on base I am going to try and steal. It’s every chance that I get being able to go.” He mentioned not coming back to the dugout and thinking he should have went. Holy shit Pirate fans, let’s trust this is true.