This game went bad just about at the same time that it started; it looked like Kris Johnson had some nerves (which is understandable, given the circumstances of his first big league start) and that dug a hole that the Pirates never really had a chance to dig out of against Joe Kelly. We could spend plenty of time debating the decision to start Johnson and not someone else, but at this point it seems to me like the best thing to hope for going forward is that the time off helps Jeff Locke recover some semblance of effectiveness for the last handful of starts down the stretch.
It's almost Labor Day, and the Pirates are tied for first place. Since it seems like I've spent quite a few Sundays recently talking about missed opportunities for the Pirates, let's flip the script: the Pirates have played the Cardinals 11 times over the last five weeks or so, and they've won seven of those games. If the Pirates went 4-7 instead of 7-4, they'd be six games out of first place, settling for a wild card. Desptie some of their struggles with lesser teams this month, the Pirates have really throtted the Cardinals at junctures in which the options were to beat the Cardinals or let them win the division. This week, the Pirates will play the Brewers three times while the Cardinals play the Reds four times. That means the Pirates could very well be in first place when they meet the Cardinals for the final time (in the regular season!) next weekend at Busch Stadium.
This was a good weekend for the Pirates, today notwithstanding. There are only four weekends left.
I travelled down to PNC this weekend for all three games. Yesterdays loss was a disappoint of course. Looking at this week ahead I think the series with the Brewers is the one to worry about. A repeat of the series last week against the Brewers must be avoided. It's a long tough road trip coming up and a record of 6-3 is the worst they can afford to do.
Not only did we go 7-4 in those 11 games, but two of those losses were really, really dinky/flukey/flimsy/pick a synonym.
Johnson knows what he did, too. He said something to the effect that he was handed his opportunity and he blew it. Which sucks for everyone, because we lost to the Cards and he probably won't get another opportunity. At least not with the Pirates. I hope.
Why is it that I worry more about going to Miller Park than to Busch later in the week? St L really isn't all that great of a team and now their starting pitchers other than Joe Kelly appear to be losing effectiveness. Kelly is the opposite of Jeff Locke. Now Kelly is on a roll similar to Locke in May and June when Kelly was in the pen much of the time.