This one gave me a sort of uneasy feeling right from the start. Yovani Gallardo was mowing down the Pirates from the get go and AJ Burnett got himself into trouble in the first, second, and fifth innings, but managed to avoid any damage. Both Drew Sutton and Garrett Jones made clumsy-looking plays in the outfield, as if to foreshadow how much of a problem the Pirates' lack of outfield depth was about to cause. The Pirates found themselves with a 1-0 lead after 5 1/2 thanks yet another Andrew McCutchen opposite field home run, but it didn't feel safe.
In the sixth, Nyjer Morgan lead off with a single up the middle and Ryan Braun lace a single to right to Garrett Jones. As the play developed, it felt like Jones took forever to get to the ball and it was clear that Morgan was going to take the tying run to third base with no outs. For some reason, Jones uncorked an awful throw back towards third base that went nowhere near any base or cutoff man and it skipped to the fence. Morgan scored, Braun advanced to third. With the infield drawn in, Aramis Ramirez had no trouble poking a single up the middle to score Braun. He then stole second on AJ Burnett's slow leg-kick and Rod Barajas's inabilty to get a throw anywhere near second and he scored when Rickie Weeks hit an easy two-hop groundball to Pedro Alvarez that glanced off of Pedro's leg for a run scoring "double." Weeks scored on a Martin Maldonado double.
The Brewers didn't score outside of that inning, but it didn't matter. The Pirates struck out 17 times without drawing a walk and Andrew McCutchen collected three of the team's five hits. It was a brutal performance all over the field today, with the exceptions of McCutchen and Burnett (who in no way deserved the four earned runs that got hung on him this afternoon). It was bad baseball remiscent of the early season Pirates. Let's hope that getting out of Milwaukee brings this sort of thing to a stop.
I'm glad to see there is at least one other sane Pirates fan out there. The Root Sports post-game announcers kept treating this like it was an exception, "no-biggie" so to speak. Seventeen strikeouts (!) and an awful defensive game is not "no-biggie," but a cause for concern. This team never would have played this way one or two weeks ago. So which is the aberration: the good play or the bad play? I have a feeling, and it's not a good one. Hopefully it's somewhere in the middle.
Also, agree with KirkLee: hits are being given out way too easily these days. Does anyone know of any data existing on the number of errors being handed out per game in the past few seasons?
MLB should just get rid of the error concept entirely. WRs aren't charged with "errors" when they drop passes that hit them square on the hands so just end this farce entirely. I mean, I could've made that play Pedro goofed and I played exactly one game at 3B in my life before settling in at RF (which should tell you my defensive prowess).
On another topic, as I've mentioned many times, I watch a lot of Rays games. It's looking like Sutton is following the same pattern for us as he did with them. He started out tearing the cover off the baseball for Tampa (much to PHB's ever-lasting delight as it gave him a couple weeks worth of bitching material) then nose-dived back to mediocrity. I realize he had a good game in Gm 1 of this series but he's looked almost clueless in the two games since then. I imagine NH is just riding him out until he can acquire a starting OFer at the deadline but whether it's Soriano/Victorino/Upton or they finally bring up Marte, his days as a starter better be over come July 28th.
After watching this game I am nothing short of outraged at Burnett getting charged with all four of those runs. I don't know if Bud Selig sent out a league-wide memo abolishing the use of errors in scorekeeping, or if every scorekeeper in the ML simultaneously decided to stop giving them to fielders (3 or 4 years ago), but it's damn near impossible to get an error in this day and age. Which is a shame because Burnett was on pace to throw a CG shutout before that inning of mindlessness and complete loss of composure. Even good teams have a bad game or a bad series now and then, but REAL good teams don't put up these kinds of embarrassments more than 3 or 4 times in a season. Let's hope a trip to Denver rights the ship and kick starts a team that's really been asleep at the wheel since the All Star break. Colorado hasn't been the toughest team in the NL to beat this season. Also, let's pray that Pedro isn't about to nosedive into another pathetic-streak. Aside from his one good swing this series he has looked as bad as ever, at the plate and in the field.