The Pittsburgh Pirates offense wasn’t sharp and failed to get the timely hit and the Bucs fell to the Cards 3-2. The big number that jumps out on the stat sheet is the fact that the Pirates have struckout 50 times in five games.
Last night, Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan changed speeds well and kept the Pirates hitters off balance while he recorded seven strikeouts.
The big offensive punch for the Pirates was a Lyle Overbay two-run bomb in the first inning. The rest of the way the Pirates ruined scoring opportunities in a variety of ways, none bigger than Pedro Alvarez grounding into a double play with gold on the corners.
Sometimes strikeouts are acceptable. We would take an Alvarez whiff over a double play ball anyday.
Sometimes strikeouts are acceptable. Like when you pound out 16 singles, but on this night that didn’t happen for the Bucs.
Alvarez struckout three times in the game and has eight on the season. He is off to another slow start. It happens.
James McDonald kept the Bucs in the game, but naturally showed some rust in his season debut. He didn’t show good pitchability in the game, throwing 87 pitches on his short night. For the amount of work he had this spring, McDonald gave the Bucs an opportunity.
It’s hard to imagine him giving the team anything more. The lanky right-hander kept the team in the game, but he also issued four walks. The pitches caught up to him and killed any opportunity for him to pitch later in the game.
Let’s just say we didn’t mind seeing McDonald get the hook.
Jeff Karstens continued to prove that pitching in the major leagues doesn’t have to be pretty to be effective. The right hander threw 14 pitches to get four outs. In comparision with McDonald, it took JMac 30 pitches to get the first four outs of the game.
Karstens got the final out in the fifth and worked through the sixth inning. He walked a batter and allowed a hit.
Walks were a theme for the Pirates pitchers as they issued six free passes. None was bigger than in the seventh when Garrett Olson walked Ryan Theriot. The Cards shortstop would come around to score the go ahead run on a soft single by Albert Pujols.
Clint Hurdle quotes:
Talking about starter James McDonald: He stayed in the dugout so he must have felt good. He battled to almost get through five. It was a good step forward, he needs to get ahead of hitters.
Colin Dunlap asked an inaudible question about Pedro Alvarez…. Hurdle said he wouldn’t share anything in regard to his struggles. He added, he played last year, I am sure there are scouting reports on him.
[Hurdle praised the work ethic of Alvarez and in turn Lyle Overbay got a few attaboys too.]
Thoughts after Overbay staked the Pirates to an early lead with his two run bomb: I played too much, watched too much, to take anything for granted. We take it one inning at a time. It was a good start.
Asked about the effectiveness of Cards starter Kyle McClellan: McClellan was their Charlie Morton this spring.
James McDonald quotes:
I knew I had a pitch count going in. I was ok. I would like to get the walks down.
(What about next start?) I will treat it the same. The side feels good. Everything felt fine.
I didn’t have great stuff, but had enough to compete.
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