There is almost no point in rehashing or dwelling on what happened in this game. AJ Burnett was terrible from the get-go; it was obvious in the first inning that his curve wasn't biting and that he couldn't locate anything the way that he wanted to. He danced through the raindrops for two innings, but he stood no chance against the Cardinals the second time through the lineup. Clint Hurdle sat on his hands in the dugout for far too long, waiting until the Cardinals had scored four runs (sequence: walk to the pitcher, single, home run, double, hit by pitch, walk, walk) to even get Jeanmar Gomez up in the bullpen. David Freese was up next and he emptied the bases with a single and a Marlon Byrd error and the game was over when Burnett came off of the mound with a 7-0 deficit and nobody out in the third inning.
Ultimately, it might not have mattered when Burnett came out. Adam Wainwright cruised through his seven innings, striking out nine, and holding the Pirates to three hits. If it wasn't for a monster homer by Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates would've been shut out today. Nobody did their job well today -- not on the mound, not at the plate, not in the field, and not in the dugout. If anything, this game serves as a reminder that if every aspect of the team is not on point in a playoff game, your opponent will dust the the field with you. The Reds were a step slow on Tuesday and the Pirates made easy work of them. The Pirates were on the other end of things today.
I don't have much else to say; one game doesn't make a series. When today started, we were all hoping for a split in St. Louis. That's still possible right now, and tomorrow's pitching matchup (Gerrit Cole and Lance Lynn) seems favorable for the Pirates. Remember this: there's no such thing as a devastating loss if you get a good start tomorrow. The Pirates won four in a row against the Cardinals and lost the fifth 13-0. The Pirates lost on a dropped flyball in 14 innings one night and won the next. They blew a three run lead with two outs in the ninth on a Friday and won on a Saturday. The Pirates' backs are against the wall, and so all we can hope now is that everyone is ready for tomorrow and Gerrit Cole comes out firing. It's a best of five series for a reason.
I am very impressed there was no badgering on here of this team, management, and ownership for this one single bad loss. It is evident that a winning season, a playoff birth, and winning a win or go home elimination game has instilled pride, confidence, and maturity in a lot of us. Lets go Bucs!
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Well put, Pat. No one performed all that well today. I'll give it up to Gomez for hanging tough in a lousy situation and Pedro did hit a bomb but it's only one game - as is the one on Friday. Go get 'em, Cole!
@mwr505 We've got them right where we want them!