You know what’s exciting about the Pittsburgh Pirates right now? They give you time to do other things. We stocked seventy cases of beer today at the shop. Let’s face it – it’s hard to watch a team with the opportunity to grab a home series against the Milwaukee Brewers put up a zero on the scoreboard.
It’s not like the Bucs didn’t have their chances. The team created opportunities. The Brewers gave them plenty, as well. The Pirates play hard. We keep waiting for them to break out, but it simply doesn’t happen. It was mind-numbing to watch the game. When it got to 7-0, it was a train wreck that we couldn’t turn our heads from, though.
So fast forward to tonight. Biggest ever at PNC? Sure. The latest installment.
Big time TV rolling into town, too. The Cardinals are up two games now on the Bucs.
St. Louis has the ability to just flat out blow teams out. They have scored 126 more runs than they have given up. The Cardinals define potent. The Pirates shut them down in their yard in a big way, grabbing the series the last time the teams met. Can it happen again starting tonight?
The Cardinals turned the 19-inning marathon into a streak. The Pirates did, too.
The Cardinals run differential is scary. Sure, there are times when the Cardinals don’t light up the scoreboard. Like the last time they played the Bucs.
This is it for the Pirates and Cardinals matchups in 2012.
The Pirates starter tonight, A.J Burnett, is steamed. Pissed off at the world right now. When he sees McCutchen not in the lineup, perhaps he will realize that those last three shitty outings won’t get it done tonight.
After the Brew Crew rolled out of town yesterday with a series win, Clint Hurdle said:
We’re not getting it done. We’ve got to play better baseball.
So, tonight it’s time for Andrew McCutchen to get a Clint Hurdle break. Before you call me a jackass, just think about it. Having players grab a spot on the bench has been Hurdle’s go-to magic trick most of this season.
McCutchen looks like he is dying on the vine right now. It’s time to throw some cold water on him. We think it’s time that the Pirates superstar gets a reality check. He’s not helping this team. Cutch needs a break. He can’t be one hundred percent after that meeting with the wall the other night either.
All of us have seen the Pirates fade at the finish line. This team rocked tee shirts with the words FINISH scrawled across the chest all season. Now the time is to start backing it up. As Burnett said, “it’s time to get on a roll.”
We think it would be wise to get on a roll without Cutch for a night. Hell, maybe two nights if Hurdle thinks it would work. Benching Cutch has worked in the past, sending him out to die on the vine and watching him walk back after another strikeout is stupid.
We think having at least a somewhat rested McCutchen for when the Bucs get seven against the Cubs, six more against those Brewers, six with Houston, and four against the Mets is important. The Bucs have a chance to stick it to the schedule makers, a chance to return the favor for the ass fucking the team has received in 2012.
It’s silly to even consider sitting your best player down when the team is playing the biggest series in PNC Park history. Especially when you look at how Cutch has hit Lohse in the past: he is 0-for-3 this season, and 4-for-13 with a slam, two whiffs, and a GIDP in 2011, but in 2010 he went 4-for-9 with a double.
We get it, this is an idea that has very little chance at happening. But it should. When Cutch whiffed to end the game yesterday, he didn’t look like the leader that has been flashing Zoltans all over the United States.
Lohse (13-2, 2.61 ERA) has gone 7-0 with a 2.21 ERA since his last loss June 15 against the Royals. He’s won two games via a 1.01 ERA this month after he gave up just two runs over seven innings last time out in a 4-2 win over the Astros.
It can’t be easy to tell an MVP candidate that he’s not in the lineup. But the conversation between Hurdle and Cutch should happen. Simply saying that his superstar isn’t fading again this season won’t get it done. He is .185 in the past 16 games. Nobody knows those numbers more than Cutch.
It’s time for Cutch to take a seat beside Hurdle. And it’s time for McCutchen’s teammates to play good defense, get a couple runs for their veteran leader on the bump and win a game without McCutchen.
For one night, hell maybe two, it’s time for the weight of 19 years to be taken off the shoulders of Andrew McCutchen. For his own good.