Pirates Win a Game of Trends

In baseball, it’s often the trends and history against teams and players that can make or break a team. Tonight, it was a bit of both, as the Pirates ultimately came out on top 4-2, via an 8th inning three run homer from Russell Martin.

On the bad side of trends, the Pirates continued their struggles against Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo took a 2.67 career ERA against the Pirates into the game, and he lowered that a bit with his outing. Gallardo pitched seven scoreless innings, surrendering five hits and striking out 11. In those seven innings, he threw 78 strikes in 112 pitches and generated 14 swings and misses, six each on his slider and curveball.

“He was sharp. Just kept us off-balance,” Clint Hurdle said. “The cutter played, the command played, downhill angle on the fastball, the curveball, all of it. Shaving edges. Just really good command of the strike zone. No misses in the middle.”

Perhaps the Pirates’ only recourse against Gallardo was their ability to run up his pitch count enough to get him out after the 7th.

“It was big that we got him up where it (the pitch count) was that he’d had enough,” Hurdle said.

On the other end of trends, the Pirates continued their success against Jonathan Broxton, generating four runs on four hits in the 8th. The big hit came when Martin mashed a fastball left over the plate just into the right centerfield bleachers.

“He made a mistake, he left it out over the plate, and I put a good swing on it,” Martin said.

Going into today, Broxton had a 4.89 ERA in 35 innings against the Pirates in his career, a difficult trend to explain given Broxton’s tremendous overall success.

“Every once in a while there can be a team that can be maybe a little more challenging than others [for a pitcher],” Hurdle said.

Jeff Locke started for the Pirates tonight, and he continued his season trend of being, well, Jeff Locke. He pitched seven innings, giving up two runs, five hits, striking out three, and walking none, while generating a 9:5 groundout to airout ratio.

“His changeup played extremely well tonight. He threw some curveballs. The fastball was really good to the glove side again. Getting strikes, moving people a little bit. He pitched effectively in,” Hurdle said.

Some of Locke’s success can perhaps be attributed to his counterpart’s success, as well.

“When a guy’s on the mound, he’s making good pitches, and he’s working officially, and he’s quick, it’s able to get you right back there on the mound quick too,” Locke said.

Of course, not everything followed a trend tonight. For the first time this year, the Pirates were able to win a fifth game in a row after previously going 0-6 in such opportunities. And from a larger perspective, the Pirates continued to not be the team people were accustomed to watching over their 20 year losing streak.

“It’s not the Pirates of the past where if you gave up four or five, you were guaranteed to lose. It’s not that team,” Locke sais

Analysis

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, we just witnessed both the signature win and signature moment of the season! Thank you Russell Martin!

    PS – Giants fans, objects in your rear view mirror ARE closer than they appear!

  • Jeremy: Just Jeff Locke has been excellent over the last 3 starts with not much support to work with – 19.1 IP, 14 hits, 6 ER (2.82 ERA), 17K/3W and during the innings he has pitched, he has received all of 2 runs of support.

  • What would happen if the Pirates and Giants or any other team for that matter tied for the wild card? How would the hosting park be determined?

    • Head to head record determines home field if it’s only two teams.

      Btw, Martin did swing – bat clearly crossed the plane. Roenicke had a point that with an 0-2 count maybe the pitch is different. But it was still a 1-1 count which did not call for a meatball. Thanks, Broxton.

    • Monsoon Harvard
      September 20, 2014 4:51 am

      The Pirates have the better record in games between them and the Giants so the Pirates already won the tie-breaker.

    • As noted, head-to-head. The Bucs won both series with SF – so they only need to tie them to host.

  • Monsoon Harvard
    September 20, 2014 12:38 am

    I was driving home from work in Blawnox and had the radio on loud like I always do when a Pirate game is on while I’m driving. I was crossing the Highland Park Bridge when Cutch struck out and Russell Martin came up and I had a feeling he was going to come up big. When he smacked the home run I was on Allegheny River Blvd and I was blasting my horn and then celebrating the whole way into Plum Borough.

    These are things a fan always remembers. I can still tell you all the things I was doing and places I was back in 1979 in that great season during the many magic moments it had. It is such fun to get to live through these and I hope all Pittsburghers are enjoying it too.

  • Fantastic game!!! Couldn’t happen to a better organization. What a complete classless move by Milwaukee naming the lying & cheating scum bag Ryan Braun as its representative for The Great Roberto Clemente Award. Did they put down in his credentials how he cheated the game & caused some kid to lose his job.Milwaukee is a D-Bag organization.

    • I’m guessing Brewers FO recommended some of Braun’s activities to repair his image. If you look at the bios/achievements of the award nominees from each team, you’ll note most of Braun’s involved writing checks. I was pretty impressed with Goldschmidt’s taking classes to get certified as a hospital volunteer and then serving 220 hours in hospitals. That’s a pretty big commitment. I don’t recall who it was, but one of the nominees collects used golf balls and clubs and ships ’em to troops in Afghanistan. Made little sense to me. I hope they’re mostly sand wedges!

  • So cool to see PNC explode like that again tonight on Martin’s big home run – that’s what I missed when the playoffs were over last season. The pure joy and excitement of 35,000 fans jumping and screaming. Finally that playoff emotion started again tonight. I was at the first Boston game on Tuesday, and the crowd was still pretty subdued.

    • A winning attitude takes awhile to settle in after so many years of disapointment and failure. I think starting this year and next the winning attitude will have taken root and will be flourishing nicely for bucco fans.

Menu