The Pittsburgh Pirates have gone from a sleepy offense to a juggernaut. The team is ripping extra base hits with the likes of the Boston Red Sox in the past week—the teams have the most in all of baseball.
But it was something that we hadn’t seen in the month of April that cost the Bucs the opener in St. Louis last night. Sloppy play and poor pitching.
But give the Bucs a bit of credit – they refused to go away. Unfortunately, the Pirates just couldn’t overcome four errors and a Jose Tabata miscue. Tabata lost a ball in the lights that led to a Cardinals double and subsequent run. Alvarez looked in the mirror and didn’t blame the pitching in the post game interview.
“Maybe if we play better defense earlier in the game we don’t find ourselves in that situation. We have to stay on top of it. When we play defense, we have a shot to win the game,” Alvarez said in the clubhouse after the 10-7 loss.
It was errors, blunders and three Cardinals homers that did in the Bucs. Garrett Jones, Clint Barmes, Pedro Alvarez, and Rod Barajas were the guys who got tagged with errors.
Charlie Morton threw what we felt was the worst outing of the season for the Pirates. It was baffling, particularly after seeing Morton make three nice starts.
Morton walked three, and gave up a pile of runs on eight hits. Electric Stuff was able to record five punch outs and – despite some sloppy play behind him – seemed, at least from his body language, to be able to shake it off.
“However the guys get on base…we have to do our job,” Morton said after the game.
But Morton’s pitches were up and flat, and the strong hitting Cardinals made the Bucs pay. Especially David Freese who crushed a non-sinking Morton sinker for a three-run tater. Morton had allowed just two homers in 405 at-bats against righties coming into the game.
Newly recalled Jared Hughes and Tony Watson got hit around with each reliever giving up a bomb. Brad Lincoln pitched a clean eighth inning. But in the end, the team gave up a season high ten runs and allowed 13 hits.
In the third inning, some good news happened as Jose Tabata crushed a two-run bomb on the first pitch from Adam Wainwright. It was Wainwright’s weakening curve ball that we told you about in the preview. His curveball isn’t nearly what it once was, and Tabata made him pay with a rare dinger.
The Bucs outfielder turned on the pitch rather than taking it to right field, and it paid off. Tabata had his first homer in a very long time. The blast gave the Bucs an early 2-1 lead.
Pedro Alvarez destroyed an 84 mph Wainwright meatball for his sixth bomb of the season. He had a broken bat single in the eighth, which also was hit sharply, as he delivered his third run batted in of the game.
Neil Walker had two hits for the Bucs. He is now batting .389 ( 21-for-54 ) since his 1-for-21 start.
But in the end, it was the ghastly defense and poor pitching which cost the Bucs tonight. Something we didn’t see much of in the month of April.