The Pittsburgh Pirates came into the four-game series with the then hot Los Angeles Dodgers hoping to win at least one game. The Dodgers are owners of the league’s highest payroll and subsequently a team that many analysts believe has the potential to win the World Series.
The Pirates won three of four against the Dodgers and moved to 26-30 on the season and just 3.5 games out of a wild card spot. They won these games in convincing fashion, 6-3, 2-1 and 5-2. The only blemish was a devastating 12-2 loss on Saturday night.
One could write an entire article analyzing how almost everything went wrong for the Pirates on that evening. The main reason for the loss in my opinion was the lineup that the Pirates deployed for that game. Regular starters Russell Martin, Pedro Alvarez, Ike Davis and Clint Barmes were all absent from the lineup. Midway through the game with defeat imminent Clint Hurdle pulled Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen thus waving the white flag on what was a night to forget for the Pirates and fans alike.
The gaping 10-run defeat that the Dodgers handed the Pirates caused many fans to once again point to that game as the potential night that the season would take a turn for the worse. Clint Hurdle’s Pirates got back on course on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball with a convincing win in front of national viewing audience.
The Pirates win was paved by starting pitcher Edinson Volquez who gave the Pirates five strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits on his way to his third win of the season. The shark tank took over and allowed one ninth-inning run as Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli combined to pitch for four innings.
This was a statement series for the Pirates, and one that has potential to be looked at as a season-defining series. The Pirates have long been criticized for never rising to the occasion against a team that is considered elite, no more is this team worthy of that specific critique.
Liriano outdueled Josh Beckett on Friday night, the same Josh Beckett who threw a no-hitter just one week ago. Liriano earned his first win of the season, giving the Pirates 5.2 innings of scoreless work in what could be signs of more good things to come from the lefty who had struggled in his previous starts.
In the three victories, the offense rolled on all cylinders. Each player contributed in some capacity and showed how potent this offense can be if all of the players bring their numbers up towards where they are capable of hitting.
This series included home runs from Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison, Pedro Alvarez, Ike Davis, and Russell Martin, as well as steady hitting from Neil Walker, Clint Barmes.
The Pirates are on tap for a relatively easy month of June with seven games against the Chicago Cubs, four against the San Diego Padres and four against the New York Mets. If the Pirates starting pitching can continue pitching well and the hits keep on coming the Pirates will continue to climb up the standings and finish June multiple games above .500.