For about ten minutes, I had believed the Pirates would show some life as the longest road trip of the season came to an end against the L.A. Dodgers. Nah. The Pirates lost to L.A. by a 9-3 score. The Pirates pitching staff continued to be dominated. The Pirates defense was bad. The Pirates offense was well, pretty offensively inconsistent except for going 1-2-3 on occassion. To put the freaking rotten cherry on this Sunday, Andrew McCutchen rolled his ankle in the third inning. It happened on a bang bang play at first base. Pirates fans everywhere felt their heart flutter.
For some reason, McCutchen was allowed to stay in the game. We couldn’t imagine the benefit of staying in the game, perhaps it would have been smart to immediately treat the injury of the franchise player. I don’t claim to be a doctor, just common sense medicine to us. In the fourth inning, Cutch tracked down a smash by James Loney and was seen pulling his ankle up in the air after snagging the ball at the right center field fence.
In the fifth inning, it was noticeable again when Cutch ran to attempt to snag a Xavier Paul bloop single to shallow right center field. He was gimpy. However, he made the final out of the fifth inning with an outstanding outfield assist–a highlight reel spinning throw that gunned down James Loney at third base.
During his at bat in the sixth, Cutch noticeably favored his ankle after fouling off a 94 mph heater. After a delayed called third strike on a back door sinker Cutch was hot at the home plate umpire. The ball did appear down in the zone. Cutch would not return to the field after his at-bat. Finally.
Pirates first at-bat: Milledge three pitches. Strikeout.
Dodgers first at-bat: Xavier Paul with an off balanced swing took Jeff Karstens to the right field wall where Ryan Church made a basket catch.
Karstens’ (0-1) luck would change and he gave up six runs and 11 hits over five innings. A leadoff walk in the second didn’t help. But the more telling sign was his strikezone plot courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net.
Karstens refused to go inside on Ethier and he made Karstens pay. This pitch was a smashed into the RF corner.
Karstens pitch selection against Ethier in the fifth inning. This was a homerun.
Tighten up the strings on your Lucha Mask:
**Did you notice McCutchen limping in the first inning after the bang bang play at first base? It appeared to be his left ankle, the camera showed a quick glimpse with Cutch limping and then leaning over in what appeared to be him reaching for his ankle.
**It was the Andre Ethier show again in L.A. Ethier homered twice and drove in four runs. Ethier was 8 for 16 with nine RBI during the four-game series.
**Blake DeWitt had his first four-hit game in the majors.
**James Loney added a pair of run-scoring hits.
**Hiroki Kuroda (3-1) allowed a run and five hits over eight innings, struck out three and walked one.
**Kemp had a fly-ball ‘double’ that right fielder Ryan Church lost in the sun. He covered his head and appeared to yell “incoming!” Loney drove him in with a single.
**Church has now completed the trifecta of major league idiocy at Dodger Stadium. Last year, he missed third base. Two years ago, DeWitt had an inside-the-park homer as Church lied on his back having missed the ball, which had lodged in the fence.
**Early in the game, Xavier Paul lucked out when Church’s throw hit him in the back as he was sliding into third base. He was dead to rights.
**Aki Iwamura decided not to finish off a double play on a Kemp smash to thirdbaseman LaRoche. It wouldn’t hurt as Jaramillo gunned down Kemp trying to steal second a couple pitches later.
**Bobby Crosby tried his best to get in front of a bullet in the fourth. Ugly. It was ruled a hit.
**Andy LaRoche had a sparkling play in the fifth inning showing his leaping ability and then his strong arm on a ball that was chopped off of home plate.
**Belliard’s double play in the seventh inning was tremendous. It appeared to be the right call, but where was LaRoche hoping to get to? Third base? Not a chance. What in the world was he thinking down five runs.
**Joel Hanrahan impressed me against Ethier in the eighth inning, except for one pitch. He touched 96 on the gun. Ethier glared at the Dodgers dugout when Hanrahan came inside. Two pitches later, Ethier put his second HR in the stands on a middle middle mistake. Hanrahan struckout Kemp to end the inning.
**Garrett Jones had two doubles to highlight the Pirates offense. Both were hit to the opposite field.
Bryan Morris is starting to heat it up in a big way. I would think he will be on the move up the ladder soon. Bucs Prospects was there to check it out.