This double-header was a weird roller coaster for two games that didn’t involve a whole lot of run scoring. The first game was exciting when it looked like James McDonald was going to make a run at a no-hitter, but terrifying in the thought that the no-hitter might not be enough to win (weirdly enough, home plate ump Tom Hallion called the Francisco Cordova/Ricardo Rincon no-hitter). Then the Rockies scored and Pedro Alvarez homered and Chris Resop gave up another run and the Pirates lost. In Game 2, Charlie Morton cruised on the mound almost as well as McDonald did, but it took the Pirate five innings to score at all. When they did, they tossed five runs on the board and then didn’t score again while Morton and the bullpen had to hold the lead.
The first half of the double header was really tough to take. The Pirates out-hit the Rockies 9-3 and James McDonald absolutely cruised with one hit, eight strikeouts, and three walks in seven innings, but it just wasn’t enough. The problem main problem was that the Pirates’ hit advantage disappeared almost entirely when you consider that the Pirates had three runners thrown out on the bases (two caught stealings and a questionable call on the outfield assist that cut Jose Tabata down at the plate) and that the Rockies drew three walks to the Pirates’ one. That’s a quick way to squander a big hit advantage, and it’s maddening to see the Pirates continue to play baseball this way.
The one good aspect of the first game was Pedro Alvarez’s homer that tied the game at one, and in the second end he added a homer to cap off the Bucs’ five-run fifth inning rally. On the day, he went 3-for-8 with two homers, a double, and two strikeouts. It’s obviously just one day and he still hasn’t hit a fastball over the fence this year (which I find concerning), but I’d take a day like this from him over most of what we’ve seen in the last season plus.
Charlie Morton made a strong start to tally the win in the second game, holding the Rockies to a Ramon Hernandez solo homer and getting a ton of groundouts, as he’s wont to do. The Rockies had four right-handed hitters in the lineup this afternoon, which is the most righties he’s faced all year and so it’s good to see him put up his best start of the season.
As disappointing as the first game of the double-header was, it’s not easy to sweep double-headers and the Pirates still managed to score 12 runs in three games against the Rockies. That’s twice as many as they averaged in their first 15 games and the Rockies are a pretty good team to take a series from, so I feel pretty OK filing this series away as progress, despite some of its more infuriating aspects.