Pittsburgh Pirates series’ takeaways vs. Atlanta Braves


After a disastrous series in Washington, the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to bounce back against the Cincinnati Reds, losing two of three to start an extended home stand. The Pirates looked to return to form against the struggling Atlanta Braves. The Pirates have completely dominated the NL East at PNC Park this season and, entering the series, they had yet to lose a game at home against NL East opponents.

Game One: Francisco Liriano (4-6, 3.26ERA) vs. Williams Perez (4-0, 2.78 ERA)

Result: Pirates win 3-2 (10 innings)

Winning Pitcher: Mark Melancon (1-1, 1.72 ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Jason Grilli (2-3, 2.93 ERA)

  • What went right:
    • Francisco Liriano bounced back from a relatively poor start in Washington, going seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out three.
    • Andrew McCutchen had a good game going 2-4 with two runs scored. He doubled to lead off the 10th inning, eventually scoring the game-winning run.
    • Jordy Mercer had himself a fantastic game, going 3-5, including the walk-off double off the Clemente Wall in the 10th.
    • Jared Hughes was stellar out of the bullpen, throwing two scoreless, hitless innings in relief.
  • What went wrong:
    • Juan Uribe was a thorn in the Pirates’ side all night, going 2-3 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored.
    • Jim Johnson had two very solid innings of relief, allowing zero runs on two hits and one walk.
    • The Pirates allowed another first inning run.
    • Gregory Polanco did not have a good game, going 0-3, grounding into a double play and making a mistake on the base paths.

Game Two: Charlie Morton (5-1, 3.97 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (5-3, 4.67 ERA)

Result: Pirates win 8-4

Winning Pitcher: Charlie Morton (6-1, 4.28 ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Julio Teheran (5-4, 4.94 ERA)

  • What went right:
    • The Pirates finally were on the right side of a big first inning, scoring five runs in the frame.
    • Starling Marte had a monster game, going 3-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
    • Pedro Alvarez played a huge role in the first inning with an RBI double. He went 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
    • Charlie Morton had a pretty solid bounce back game after the absolute disaster of a start in Washington. He went six+ innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits while striking out six.

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  • What went wrong:
    • Andrew McCutchen had to exit the game in the first inning after being hit by a pitch in the elbow.
    • Jace Peterson had a big game for the Braves, going 2-5 with three RBIs.
    • Nick Markakis had a solid game, going 2-4 with an RBI.
    • Charlie Morton couldn’t finish the game strong, allowing a bases-clearing double off the bat of Jace Peterson.

Game Three: Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.74 ERA) vs. Alex Wood (4-5, 3.44 ERA)

Result: Pirates lose 2-1

Winning Pitcher: Alex Wood (5-5, 3.17 ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Jeff Locke (4-4, 4.55 ERA)

Save: Jason Grilli (21, 3.14 ERA)

  • What went right:
    • Jordy Mercer had another multi-hit ballgame, going 3-4 with an RBI.
    • Jeff Locke was serviceable, going five innings, allowing one run on five hits, and striking out five.
    • Deolis Guerra had another scoreless appearance. He did allow two hits, but induced a double play to avoid any damage.
    • Neil Walker had a pinch-hit double.
  • What went wrong:
    • Alex Wood kept the Pirates off balance and off the scoreboard. He went 7.1 innings, allowing zero runs on five hits and struck out eight.
    • Jace Peterson added a clutch insurance run on a solo home run in the seventh inning.
    • Pirates went 0-6 with runners in scoring position.
    • Jordy Mercer and Sean Rodriguez missed a hit and run, which caused Mercer to be thrown out attempting to steal second base.

A 3-3 home stand is not particularly great, but bouncing back to take two out of three games after a disappointing series against the Reds is successful. It’s very easy to compare what the Pirates are doing to the Cardinals ridiculous pace, but by doing that you’re missing out on watching a pretty good baseball team. Obviously we all want the Pirates to catch the Cardinals and win the NL Central, but the Pirates can’t do that overnight. It isn’t likely they will win 10 games in a row, while the Cardinals lose 10 games in a row. All you can do is continue to win series and take care of business until it’s time to play the Cardinals again. Until that time, don’t think of this as losing one of three because negativity is no way to watch a pretty damn good baseball team.

Series result: Pirates win 2-1

2015 win/loss record: 42-33

2015 series record: 11-10-3

Next: What should the Pirates do with Gregory Polanco?