If my wish a couple of days ago was to see some performances by the pitching staff reminiscent of April, Jeff Karstens and James McDonald have delivered them in the last couple of games. McDonald was flat-out excellent today, striking out 10 Giants in seven innings, holding them to just one run. He shrugged off a half-hour rain delay like it was nothing, and he gave a pretty awesome statement performace for Tony La Russa and company to consider, should an All-Star spot come open in the next 48 hours or so.
Of course, every good pitching performance needs runs to go with it. Ryan Vogelsong was pretty good, but the Pirates made five of their eight hits off of him go for extra bases and that helped them cash in three runs. Mike McKenry's power surge continued with a double and a homer Neil Walker doubled twice (once driving in a run), and Pedro Alvarez had an RBI double. That was all McDonald and Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan (with a big assist from Clint Barmes's glove) needed.
No matter what the Reds do tonight and tomorrow, the Pirates will go into the All Star Break at least tied for first place.
@GlassJaw Because LaRussa clearly didn't watch one baseball game not involving his beloved Cardinals before making his AS selections. Its the only way I can figure him picking Hanrahan, who has a lot a saves but is the team's third best pitcher after AJ and J-Mac at best (and I think an argument can be made that Grilli has been more effective as well).
Between him continuing his habit of dicking over the Pirates (Remember a couple seasons ago when the Pirates lone representative never got off the bench?) and his openly trolling the Reds, it's pretty clear he's using his last hurrah to goose his old enemies one last time.
@Carnegie Chip @GlassJaw I don't know about that. I always pictured the All-star selection process going like this: "Let's see... everyone says Cole Hamels is good. Gotta include him. Papelbon was on the mound when he won the World Series, that's an All-Star closer right there. Ryan Braun hit two home runs against us that one game. Put him in... Oh crap, I need a Padre..."
Pat... Who hangs up first: A. Hanson, G. Polanco, R. Grossman and C. Cain for J. Upton? Am I over-valuing our guys? Would you do it?
@Craig C I'd have to seriously consider that deal; Hanson is the only guy in that group who profiles as a top-tier starter, and he's at least three years away.
@Craig C I think I am over-sentimental (and not logical probably), but there are not many of our guys I would really want to trade for anybody. I think I want to see our way win without help. But, I would trade out of our deep bullpen for hitting help. Specifically, if somebody oveervalued him, I would trade Hanrahan. If we could get somebody to give up something valuable for him only.