I don’t know what to say about this game that hasn’t been said about one of the other million close losses the Pirates have to key divisional opponents this year: the Pirates hit John Lackey hard for most of his start tonight, but only ended up with Pedro Alvarez’s solo home run to show for it. Francisco Liriano looked great until he suddenly didn’t, then the bullpen came in to clean things up for him, and they failed to do so. Andrew McCutchen over-estimated his own arm-strength for the ten-thousandth time this year, giving a Cardinal runner an extra base and providing the Cardinals with the opportunity to score their third and decisive run. Like yesterday, Andrew McCutchen homered in the ninth, but it wasn’t quite enough to make up the deficit.
The Pirates have what I would describe as an absolutely absurd number of these close-and-late losses generated by their bullpen against the Cardinals and Brewers this yaer. To give you an idea, the Pirates have outscored the Brewers 76-63 this year, but are 5-11 against them. They have outscored the Cardinals 53-47, but are 6-8. This game right here just keeps happening over and over and over again. It was one thing in the late spring or early summer to say, “Hey, this is going to balance itself out and the Pirates will be fine,” but time is simply running out for that kind of thing to happen. If the Pirates are going to make up distance in the pennant race against the teams in front of them, they just can’t keep losing games like this one.