Game 79: McCutchen Beats Dinged Up Phils

It’ll be interesting to see if Philadelphia can stay in the race with about 1/3 of their roster on the DL. Tonight they could muster little against Daniel McCutchen and the Pirates bullpen. The Pirates managed to muster a little more of Cole Hamels and take the first game of the series.

McCutchen allowed one earned run in 5-1/3 innings. He struck out the side in the second. But other than that didn’t have another 1-2-3 inning as he danced out of trouble. He gave up a solo homer to Wilson Valdez (filling in for Chast Utley). He also gave up a run when Andy LaRoche’s two out throwing error allowed Shane Victorino to score. McCutchen was yanked with one out in the fifth after Pedro Alvarez’ error allowed Jayson Werth to reach safely. The Pirates bullpen did not allow a run over the final 3-2/3 innings with Evan Meek tossing two scoreless innings and Octavio Dotel pitching the 9th for a save.

McCutchen allowed six hits and now walks. One of the two runs he surrendered was earned and he whiffed four.

The Pirates made the most of limited opportunities from Cole Hamels, scratching out single runs in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings. In the second Bobby Crosby (welcome back) singled home Lastings Milledge who had singled and moved to second on a Ryan Doumit BB. After the homer from Valdez tied it, Jose Tabata walked leading off the 3rd and scored when Alvarez doubled. The Pirates put runners on second and third with one out (thanks in part to a Valdez error), but failed to score again. In the fourth, Tabata singled home LaRoche with two outs for the Pirates final run (and also the Pirates final hit) of the night.

Hamels lasted seven innings and gave up all three runs on five hits. He walked two and whiffed eight.

The Good
Two straight wins.

McCutchen picked up his first win of 2010 and second career win.

The Bad
Defense – Bucs have the third most errors in the league and have the worst defense in the NL according to Total Zone Ratings listed at baseball-reference.com.

Offensive struggles continue.

The Rest
Hamels came into the game 1-0 in three career starts against the Pirates. This was the first time McCutchen had faced Philadelphia.

After a 6-20 June in which the offense averaged just 3.2 runs, the Pirates kicked off July with a win.

Pirates have not won three straight since they swept the Cubs May 4, 5 and 6.

Pirates have not had a multi-homer game since June 6 against the Giants.

Pirates have not scored more than six runs in a game since May 14 against the Cubs.

In keeping with tradition, the Pirates began playing terribly immediately after my trip to PNC. Since Ryan Doumit’s walk off homer on Sunday 5/23 (with me on hand to witness), the Pirates are 9-26. They averaged 3 runs a game in that span with an OBP of less than .300. The pitching staff has an ERA of 4.75 over that time frame.

Analysis
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