If you’re a regular reader, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve more or less stopped recapping weekend games. This is because the Pirates are hard to watch and so on most Fridays and Saturdays, I either choose to not watch them or I just don’t have the energy to relive what I just watched and so I’ve been giving myself a little vacation in the name of sanity. I can’t let last night slip unmentioned, though.
If you watched it, you know the game turned on two plays in the sixth inning. The first was Neil Walker’s pop-up to shallow left that Alicides Escobar ran what seemed like a mile to make a sliding grab with his back turned, then spun and lasered a throw to first to catch Jose Tabata off the bag. Tabata didn’t have much of a choice; with a pop-up into no-man’s land he had to at least make it halfway to second in case the ball dropped, because if it did Ryan Braun would’ve been there waititng to scoop up and make and easy throw to second for the force. And it’s not like he turned and forget to go back to first. He went back, but Escobar made a play that was beyond excellent. It reminded me of Jack Wilson in his prime, the way he’d always be ready to throw runners out and somehow just knew when he had a chance to do it. Thanks to Escobar’s phenomenal play, the Pirates had no one on and two outs instead of first and second and no outs (which they would’ve had had the hit dropped in). They kept the deficit at 2-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, down 2-1, the Brewers put two runners on with one out when Escobar hit a sharp line drive more or less right at Lastings Milledge. The ball was curving a bit and Milledge got turned around, but he managed to make the play, McDonald escaped the inning without damage, and Meek and Hanrahan nailed the win down completely missed the ball, and carnage ensued. Two runs scored on the “triple” (again, ERA is stupid), one more scored Jonathan Lucroy’s singled through a drawn-in infield, and I turned the game off. I don’t know how it got to 7-2 and I don’t care. McDonald was excellent through six innings last night and pitched more than well enough to get out of the seventh, and instead he got a crooked number hung up on him and another loss. Milledge looked like the kid in tee-ball who gets stuck out in right field and when the ball is hit in his direction is studiously examining a dandelion, then suddenly flailing all over the place to try and make up for his lapsed attention. It doesn’t work in tee-ball and it didn’t work last night.
I would say, “This team is hard to watch,” but that would be the understatement of the decade, I think.