There were plenty of things to like in this game (a partial list: Jeff Locke was strong again, Bryan Morris and Vin Mazzaro both turned in solid relief performances and have both been generally pretty good besides one bad outing apiece, Clint Hurdle used both Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon appropriately in a tie game (and I know that many managers do this in extra inning games at home, but Hurdle said recently that he had no intentions of doing so and it's nice to see that he's rethinking his bullpen strategy), the Pirates found a way to win in a game in which they were the better team but just couldn't score runs, and also Andrew McCutchen is practically a real life baseball superhero and it's just great that he's a Pirate), but my favorite one came immediately after the game ended.
Watch the replay all the way through. Andrew McCutchen drives the ball into deep right center and bolts out of the box like a shot. This was no no-doubt homer. He hits second base at full speed, sees the ball is gone, gives a point, slows up around third, takes off his helmet, exults in the moment with his teammates for just a second, and comes out of the dogpile almost looking angry, yelling, "Come on! Come on!"
It's early yet, but this Pirate team could be something different than any Pirate team in recent memory. You know it and I know it and the players all know it. That's not to deny that there's a long row to hoe ahead and that things can go wrong at any number of points along the journey. You know that and I know that and no one knows that better than the players that have played through the last two seasons. But if this Pirate team is going to be different, they can't be doormats for anyone. That includes the Brewers. There can't be talk about curses or bad luck or wallowing in Brewer-related misery or anything of the sort. That's what losers do.
Andrew McCutchen had an opportunity to put his team on his back and start to move them past all of that. It's only a step, but it's a step nonetheless. The Pirates have won two of their last three against the Brewers. In baseball, everything starts with one game but one game can't be any more than one game in a vacuum. I say this is as good a place as any to start building.
Hopefully this game gives the team a shot of confidence that they can carry through the rest of the season. Now we just need to have some fans actually go to the game ! Disappointing to see games against the Brewers and there's like 6,000 people in the stands. This team deserves better.
I was thinking the exact same thing after the loss in game one of the series. A “winning team” should not be owned by a team with a .432 winning pct. They need to get past these guys. The walk off HR was awesome.
@Michael Brown It was a weeknight, it was cold, and the Pens were just starting their next playoff series. That was never going to get high attendance. Not when there are 80 other home games to choose from.
I'll be more interested to see what happens with attendance if the team is still doing well when we get into June and July. Last two years the demand for tickets was plenty high; I wonder if this year people will come out again or just anticipate another collapse.
@Eephus Cold ? I thought Pittsburghers were tough ? All kidding aside, I truly believe the Bucs play better in front of a crowded PNC Park. But last season I made the 2600 mile trip in September to watch them host the Brewers when they were still officially in the playoff hunt, and there were like 10K fans in attendance. I was shocked and really disappointed.