The Pittsburgh Pirates are fighting for their lives to get to the postseason. The Chicago Cubs came into PNC Park with a six-game losing streak, having been dick-slapped by the Nats to the tune of 29-8 in their past three games.
You could never tell.
The Pirates fell 12-2, aiding each of the Cubs runs with some of the worst fielding we have witnessed as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. It didn’t help that the Bucs home-run-centric offense couldn’t muster even one against a Cubs pitcher who was pitching as poorly as Zach Duke in his darkest days in black and yellow.
Travis Wood actually held down the Pirates offense (and was spinning a no-no for a while), and had one hit the Buccos through the sixth inning. It took all the Pirates had to try and have more base knocks than boots.
The team chasing the wild card ended up with seven errors. It probably should have been eight, but Garrett Jones was given a reprieve. The first Bucs hit came with two outs in the fifth inning and Rod Barajas, well… he was Rod Barajas and couldn’t help the cause.
By the time A.J. Burnett held the ball out for bench coach Jeff Banister to retrieve, Clint Hurdle had already been tossed, and a full fledged beat down was about to ensue. Burnett gave up seven runs, but was charged with three earned.
The errors were mixed in with plenty of divots flying from some PNC sod that certainly did nothing to assist the Bucs defensive efforts. We guess one could say everything was sloppy, even the grass.
Michael McKenry and Starling Marte picked up the two Bucs RBI in the eighth inning. But the game was already out of hand thanks to boots by numerous young Bucs. Marte had two really bad errors in the second inning. Brock Holt was in the boot brigade, and Josh Harrison, too – hell, it was bad.
It makes one wonder if the Pirates even believe their own bullshit. Clint Barmes was held out of the game because he “didn’t match up well” with Wood in his career. If you read the post today, Barmes hits well off left handers this year. Josh Harrison was like 2-for-5 off Wood and that got him the start.
Yeah, it’s mind blowing stuff.
Barmes is here for his glove, so why the hell with Burnett on the bump doesn’t #AlwaysSmooth get the start? The Pirates preach metrics religiously, and when a postseason berth is on the line, the guy with 17 starts at shortstop is in the lineup? Ahhh-mazing.
If you look at the numbers, it screams for Barmes to start. The great leather and the nearly .290 rate against left handers. Especially when you realize that A.J. has a 2.14 ground ball to fly ball rate, and is serving up ground balls at about a 56 percent clip in 2012.
Was it Dan Fox? Was it Clint Hurdle? Somebody needs slapped. Twitter was questioning the move before the game, and you know what? All of our twitter connections were right for once. What a shame.
Josh Harrison isn’t a shortstop. We think he proved that last night – again. Isn’t it time to stop the great experiment?
The Cubs look to the shark tomorrow as Jeff Samardzija (8-13, 3.91 ERA) pitches his last game of 2012.
The Pirates will send James McDonald (12-7, 3.90 ERA) to even up the series.
If you have a good sense of humor be sure to check out Cubby-Blue. It’s awesome.
September 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) is removed from the game by bench coach Jeff Banister (28) against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Chicago Cubs won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE