Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call – Leaving St. Louis on a positive note
By Tyler Waite
Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a new daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw a few links to some good articles from around the web concerning our baseball team as well.
Exiting St. Louis on a positive note
Although the game got close at one point, the Pirates’ offense did enough last night to avoid a sweep. By doing so, the Pirates sit six games back of the Cards instead of eight games back. This late in the year, those games absolutely matter. It was nice to see the Pirates jump on Lance Lynn right away, who has had a very good year so far. The two-thirds of an inning that he lasted was the shortest outing of Lynn’s career.
But as much as that win was crucial, I can’t help but take away more negatives than positives from this game. For starters, Francisco Liriano did not look great, and the three runs he gave up could have been more. He walked four batters and didn’t seem to be able to find the strike zone all night. I still wonder if he has some minor lingering injury that he or the staff isn’t letting us know about.
The stellar Pirate defense was at work against last night. Although no one made any errors, defensive lapses still occurred, like when Neil Walker and Jung Ho Kang miscommunicated on a grounder up the middle, turning an easy out into an infield single. This poor defense is actually costing the Pirates games this year, and it’s a problem that has to be minimized.
It was also difficult to watch the Pirates just sit on their first inning lead instead of adding on. The Cardinals may not have a dynamic offense but they’re a good team that knows how to hit with runners in scoring position. Personally, I would have lifted Liriano one batter earlier than Hurdle did. With a relatively well-rested bullpen, Hurdle should be confident in going to the pen earlier, especially in a game that the team absolutely needed to win. He often sticks with starters far later than he should.
In the end, though, the Pirates still won, and that’s important. Now they have to make up ground on the Cardinals, and quickly.
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Aramis Ramirez at first…ugh
So in case any of you missed it, Aramis Ramirez was taking grounders at first base before the game last night. Yes, this is the same Ramirez that has never played a game at a position other than third base in his career. The Pirates made the same move with Pedro Alvarez last year, and Alvarez’s defense at first has arguably been as bad as his throwing problems at third last year. Switching a player to a different position in a pennant race is almost always an act of desperation.
I just don’t see the reason for this. Ramirez has been sub-par defensively at third to say the least, and a move to first could cause even more defensive problems. I could see him being close to as bad as Pedro across the diamond. Why not move Neil Walker to first and put Josh Harrison at second when he returns? Walker’s better defensively than Ramirez, and with Pedro all but gone this offseason, a move to first for Walker could at least solve first base next year until Josh Bell arrives.
It’s gonna be an interesting series against the Mets
Get ready to watch some bad pitching when the Pirates send out J.A. Happ, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke to face the Mets this weekend. They each sport ERAs of 4.78, 4.48, and 4.43, respectively, on the year. Yes, this is a team in a playoff race sending out three number five starters in a series. It could be rough on the eyes, so beware.
Around the web
Fox Sports updated their NL MVP watch, and while they say that Bryce Harper still leads, he has players hot on his heels, including Andrew McCutchen. Check out the full piece here.
Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Post Gazette writes about Pedro Alvarez and his recent surge in August, among other bits in this piece.
And in case you missed it on Tuesday night, Jared Hughes barely avoided getting hit in the head by a comebacker up the middle. You can read Rob Biertempfel’s write-up on the incident here.
The win last night goes a long way in keeping the NL Central still within striking distance. And although the Pittsburgh Pirates are sending out a bad group of pitchers this weekend, the Mets’ offense isn’t phenomenal, even with their additions. I could definitely see a Pirate series victory this weekend.