Final: Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 0
I only got to see the first four innings of this game, but from what I saw, it was easy to tell that Erik Bedard was on. And he absolutely rolled through Arizona’s lineup with seven scoreless innings. He struck out five, didn’t walk a batter, and allowed only two hits.
Miley pitched almost equally well for the Diamondbacks, but errors led to the Pirates’ first run. Leading off the fourth inning, Andrew McCutchen hit a bloop single to center field. Chris Young was unable to field it cleanly and McCutchen sped towards second. Young eventually found the ball and would have had McCutchen with a good throw, but bounced it to the base and shortstop Willie Bloomquist was unable to come up with it, allowing McCutchen to advance to third with no outs. Gaby Sanchez then grounded to short to score McCutchen.
Starling Marte drew his first walk of his career and has reached base five times over the past two games. If he can somehow stabilize the leadoff spot, it would be an enormous boost to the offense. For the year, Pirates’ leadoff hitters have a .268 OBP, which is second to last in the Majors.
The win allowed the Pirates to get back within 3 1/2 games of the Reds after they fell to the Brewers 6-3 tonight. It was the first time the Reds lost back-to-back games since they lost three in a row July 3-5.
@mbandi Right, because J-Mac buzzing someone is going to make them see the error of their ways. That has a good track record.
— Ed Giles (@InClementeWthr) August 4, 2012
It is an argument that has been had numerous times. Should you retaliate if your opposition drills your best player?
Friday night, Andrew McCutchen faced off against Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning. The game was pretty much already decided at this point. The Reds held a 3-0 lead and were an out away from victory. No one was on base. The game was in the bag.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Chapman unleashed a 101 mph fastball up and in that drilled McCutchen right in the left shoulder. It was pretty obvious that McCutchen was not very thrilled about it. He stood at home for a bit and slowly took his base. Following the game, McCutchen showed more emotion than I have ever seen him show as you could easily lip-read multiple obscenities directed towards the Reds.
One side of the argument says that you have to do this to “protect” your superstar. Another side of that says that the Pirates have to show that other teams can’t “push them around” and should show that they aren’t going to accept being treated like that.
The other side says, “What’s the point?” If McDonald hits Ludwick in the first inning of the next game, one of three things will happen. Ludwick might just put his head down, and take his base without saying a word, thus ending the whole thing as the umpire issues warnings to both benches. Another thing that could happen is that the home plate umpire, who obviously saw what happened the previous day, ejects McDonald on the spot. The third thing, which would be unlikely, is that the Reds take offense to the retaliation and all Hell breaks loose. Scenarios two and three will result in McDonald being ejected and suspended. Scenario one means McDonald just gave up a base runner in what will be a very key series where things hinge on each at-bat.
So what should the Pirates do? I’m torn on it. My heart says retaliate, but my head says to stay calm and beat them on the field, where it matters. It is Andrew McCutchen, so if there is ONE guy you “protect,” it’s him. But at the same time, this series is huge, and the slight risk of having a starting pitcher get bounced in the first inning of a game doesn’t sit well with me. I’m leaning towards going with my head. For now.