Well, this is not the recap I wanted to write this evening. For most of the afternoon, it looked like there’d be good stuff to write about like Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones hitting big home runs and Jose Tabata staying scorching hot since his return off of the disabled list and James McDonald putting together a pretty solid start despite some early problems and the Pirates taking two out of three from the Reds. Instead, we’ve got another Joel Hanrahan meltdown and another case of Clint Hurdle confusing aggressive for stupid and another Pirate loss.
It’s been awfully hard to watch Joel Hanrahan struggle the last few times out, but I think that all relievers are going to go through rough patches at some point or another and given the number of balls that just barely snuck through the infield today, it’s hard to be that upset, I think. I was legitimately shocked to hear boos for Hanrahan on the TV broadcast because really, the guy’s been awesome this year and these last couple days are the first time we’ve seen any sign of struggle from him at all the entire season. It sucks and it’s certainly the main reason the Pirates lost today, but, well, it’s gonna happen from time to time.
The thing that has less to do with the loss directly but drives me infinitely more nuts is Josh Harrison getting caught stealing at second base with no one out in the ninth inning. When Ryan Doumit lead off the inning with a hit and Hurdle brought Harrison in to pinch run for him, I said to myself, “Uh-oh. He’d better not try a steal with Walker at the plate.” Harrison took off on the third pitch of the at-bat and was called out at second though the replays showed he was probably safe. That doesn’t mean it was an OK situation to steal. Obviously there are some places in a one-run game where stealing second with no outs is the right call, but with Harrison (a 72% stealer in the minors, which is just about the lowest acceptable percentage for a base stealer) on first and not someone with a little more speed, plus a hitter like Walker at the plate, it just seemed like the wrong place to take that chance. With Brandon Wood up? Go for it. Walker, of course, immediately responded with a hustling double and was stranded on third when the game ended. Frustrating.
Frustrating’s a good word for this one. With the number of games the Pirates have lost in the last month, it’s hard to get too worked up about losses anymore, but this one is sticking in my craw a little bit.