This is a tough one to process, just because of the weird way that it unfolded. Because of the 50 minute rain delay that came with one out in the top of the ninth, this whole game feels like it boiled down to the part of it that game after the delay. That part was dramatic, for sure, with Pedro Alvarez ripping the first pitch he saw after the delay for a game-tying three-run homer, then Jason Grilli getting hit hard in the bottom of the ninth to give the Rockies the run they needed to win pretty easily.
The problem is that remembering the end of the game ignores the bulk of it and it's the bulk of it that was more important tonight. Jeff Francis and Josh Roenicke held the Pirates to just one run (a Jeff Karstens' RBI single at that) over eight innings despite only striking out one hitter, because the Pirates ran the bases like idiots and failed to really square up on the ball at all despite not being fooled by either Rockie pitcher. Jeff Karstens pitched well in his seven innings, but like AJ Burnett yesterday he had a bad inning that was greatly enhanced by terrible Pirate outfield defense from a person that's not really an outfielder. In this case, the Rockies hit some seeing eye singles off of Karstens and Josh Harrison took an awful route to an Eric Young flyball with an awful lot of air under it.
Which is to say that despite the focus-shift that the rain delay forced, this game was a rehash of the Milwaukee series. The Pirates did dumb things in the field, partly because they're always playing at least one non-outfielder in the outfield and they refuse to call Starling Marte up for reasons that make increasingly little sense, they did dumb things on the bases, and they didn't do enough at the plate to make up for either. I don't care if it's only a few games after the All-Star break; this is not how good teams play baseball.
Did you catch the other day when Hurdle said "Hernandez is our defensive guy on the bench and Harrison is our offensive guy on the bench"? Then he had Harrison playing right field (RIGHT FIELD!!) and let Hernandez pinch hit...it's absolutely maddening to the point that it's comical. When you have a guy in the minors who can fill BOTH of those positions by himself it makes games like last night really tough to watch.
Speaking of Hurdle, and on a complete side note, has anyone went back and looked at the Pirates offensive stats from early June to now and compared it to bunt attempts? Is it a coincidence that they've been bunting less and scoring more? Do you think he notices?
Ok, while this one was a very tough one to swallow, I have to say you're being a little harsh. The Rockies are a bad team. The Pirates lost to the Rockies. This much is true. But they didn't play ANYTHING like the Milwaukee series today. They didn't really square up on the ball? Not true. They were robbed time and again by fantastic defense (Barajas' would-be double to the wall, the two great diving plays by Pacheco, Pedro hit a liner that hung for too long, McCutchen got robbed on a grounder to SS). Harrison did make a terrible play and overall, yes, they could have played better. But in the end this game was not a strikeout fest that foreshadows future doom. It was a game in which the Pirates put up a good effort, but lost to a Rockies team that played the best baseball that their low talent-level could put forth. I hate losing to bad teams, but tonight the Pirates lost to a bad team playing its best, and barely at that. They're nine games over .500 and Joey Votto just went to the DL. Let's not lose our heads over a disappointing final score.