This game was a nice illustration of what usually happens to a team when you get a bad start and leave a bunch of runners on base; the opposition beats the crap out of you. The Pirates had eight hits and drew five more walks today, but they left 11 of those runners on base and only scored twice and that wouldn’t have been enough before Hayden Penn got involved with the game. Once Penn came in and gave up four runs, things were well over.
Using Penn was a necessity, though, once Paul Maholm failed to get out of the sixth inning. I thought John Russell managed his bullpen very well in the first two games but it created a huge void today. The Pirates are saying that Dan McCutchen will be demoted to Triple-A after his first start next week to get in regular work and make room for Joel Hanrahan, so that means that Penn has until about the 20th of the month to prove he belongs. Color me skeptical.
And so that’s it. The Pirates played pretty poorly today and they lost and we know for certain that they won’t be going 162-0. But we knew this was going to happen, and that it may happen more often than not. In taking two of three from the Dodgers, the Pirates showed an awful lot of plate patience and they got some good performances from their bullpen (other than today, I mean), but they didn’t get any good starts and after the first game, their ability to string hits together was lacking. And hey, 2-1 is at least one game better than I thought we’d start.