I am suddenly strongly regretting my decision to use my "we just got dominated by a good pitcher" post on Greinke yesterday. Where Greinke was good yesterday, Harden was absolutely dominant today, suddenly reminding everyone of the guy the Cubs got from the A's last July. We must of course consider the the opponent when discussing his dominance, but he looked really good tonight.
On the positive side of things, I thought Zach Duke pitched very well tonight and certainly didn't deserve to get saddled with a loss. Andy LaRoche also added two hits and seems to be coming out of a long dry spell with five hits, including two triples and a double, all of which were to the opposite field and hit off of the wall, in the last three games after hitting .212/.295/.282 in June before these three games. Nyjer Morgan also rapped out three hits and actually has his OPS over .700 now.
On the negative side, it seems pretty clear that hitters have a book on Andrew McCutchen now and he's probably going to struggle over the next few weeks. He did manage a single tonight, which was his first hit since his walkoff against the Indians last Thursday, but he looked a little overmatched at the plate tonight for the fourth game in a row. This is in no way a criticism of him, but this is how things work with a 22-year-old making his first run of any sort in the big leagues. I'm interested to see how he handles this first stretch of adversity, just like I'm interested to see if Andy LaRoche can really pull himself out of an extended slump during the season. These are the important things in a season like this for the Pirates.