Game 97: Pirates 6 Nationals 5

For eight innings it looked like this was going to be a nice, strong Pirate win. Then Jason Grilli served up a two-run homer to Jayson Werth and left the game three batters later, flexing his right forearm and that's all that anyone can think about. There's absolutely nothing that can be done about Grilli from here; we won't know an initial diagnosis until tomorrow, at least (the team is saying "forearm discomfort" tonight, but that's essentially meaningless; both Jeanmar Gomez and Wandy Rodriguez left starts early with forearm discomfor this year — Gomez's injury was minor and Rodriguez's injury apparently wasn't), and we won't know for sure what's going on with him long-term for at least a little while. All that can really be said right now is this: Jason Grilli was excited about signing with the Pirates at a time when no one else was. Jason Grilli has embraced Pittsburgh, never really considered leaving when he was a free agent this winter, and has been an incredible relief pitcher for the Bucs. He's one of the great stories in baseball this year. I hope he's OK, you hope he's OK, and probably a lot of non-Pirate fans hope he's OK to. There's just nothing else to be done about it now, so let's talk some more about the game. 

It's almost amusing the way that the Pirates appear to be single-handedly trying to prove that productive outs and hitting with runners in scoring position isn't a useful metric of how a team is playing (you should read this from my old FanHouse friend Matt Snyder if you haven't already). The Pirates got zero hits with runners in scoring position toinght, but still managed to score six runs. A whole bunch of that came from Andrew McCutchen's two two-run homers in the first and third innings (with a runner on first both times!). That, along with a Gaby Sanchez groundout with runners on second and third, helped stake the Pirates to a 5-0 lead. 

Things aren't always easy, though, and after four hitless innings, Charlie Morton started to give the lead back. He gave up a home run to Adam LaRoche in the fifth, then a two-run shot to Werth in the seventh. The Pirates got another insurance run in hilariously obstinate fashion (Pedro Alvarez scored from third on a wild pitch), and that run turned out to be huge. 

OK, deep breath. Nothing to do now but wait until tomorrow.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.