Can the Braves stay in town forever? Another game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate as the Pirates had a 9-0 lead in the 2nd inning before letting the Braves hang around and make everyone nervous.
Going through the boxscore while putting together the North Shore Nine snapshot of the game, I feel like everyone in this game went 3-for-5 for the Bucs. And it’s not that far off as Gregory Polanco, Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Cervelli all went 3-for-5. Polanco actually recorded three doubles, his first three double game of his career, and the first Pirate to do that since…David Freese last month. Paul Waner has the franchise record with four doubles in a game back in 1932. It was Waner’s 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd double of the season and it was only May 20. He went on to blast 62 doubles that season, the Pirates franchise record for doubles in a season. To compare it to Waner’s ridiculous pace, Polanco has 15 doubles on the season already. Last year, he hit a double every 16.9 AB’s. This season, it’s one double every 9.1 ABs. That’s an incredible pace.
Anyway, this one should have been over at the 1st inning. The Pirates teed off on rookie prospect Aaron Blair, ripping him on the first pitch in three straight ABs for hit after hit en route to a 7-run inning. Even Juan Nicasio had an RBI single in the inning while John Jaso recorded a single and a double in the same inning. The Pirates added two more runs in the 2nd inning on a Cervelli RBI double, fresh off his announcement of his three-year extension that will made him a Bucco through 2019.
With a 9-0 lead, this game should have been over. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as Nicasio ran into some trouble in the third inning that started with a leadoff triple by Bud Norris…yeah the Braves relief pitcher after Blair exited with an ugly stat line. Nicasio ended up giving up five runs (three earned in 5.0 innings of work. Ryan Vogelsong gave up three runs after him and Caminero came in, didn’t record an out and gave up a run. It’s extremely concerning that the Pirates bullpen continues to pitch this poorly. Especially against a shit team like the 9-29 Braves. The Braves came in with nine home runs total on the season and have already hit four home runs in two games.
The Braves comeback made it a save opportunity once again for Mark Melancon, who slammed the door shut in the ninth for his 13th save of the season. I said it last night on Twitter, but it seems like any big lead ends up being a save chance for Melancon. There’s no sugar coating it, the Bucs need bullpen help. The Caminero story looks about finished.
Let’s focus on the good news though from tonight’s game as the Pirates offense sprayed 21 hits around the ballpark. It’s surprising, but not one of those 21 hits were home runs. The last time a team had at least 21 hits and no home runs was the Detroit Tigers back in 2014 and they lost that game (wow).
The Pirates will try to keep the Braves at nine wins this season Wednesday night with Liriano on the mound against Teheran.