The Pirates were as dull and gray as the skies today, dropping an uninspired 4-1 game to the reeling Reds.
Kevin Hart started, and in five frames, gave up three runs on six hits with three walks, throwing 99 pitches along the way. Hart allowed the leadoff man to reach base four times in five innings, twice on walks, and three scored.
The Pirates bullpen gave up one run over the final four, but it took them 88 pitches to finish up. Pittsburgh hurlers threw the ball to batters 187 times today; the Reds added 150 more pitches. No wonder the game took 3-1/2 hours to finish.
The Bucs looked like they had Homer Bailey, entering the game with a 7.53 ERA and two wins, on the ropes early. They loaded the bases in the first, and had two on in the second. All it got them was five stranded runners, and from that point on, Bailey owned them.
After scoring twelve runs yesterday, JR made the curious decision to bench three of the guys that started. Hey, tomorrow's an off day; shouldn't you stick with the hot hand?
And another thought: we can't wait for the first strike philosophy to take hold with the Bucco pitchers. The pace of the game was snail-like, and it showed in the play.
We know the corollary to throwing strikes is working quickly. That's two rules every pitching coach since the days when baseballs were stuffed instead of wound has dished out to his charges. Working long counts and pitching at a molasses pace puts your fielders in a trance and shows indecision on the part of the pitcher.
We're fairly certain the staff has a plan; Joe Kerrigan gets them ready. It's up to them to believe in it, believe in their pitches, and believe in an attack mode.
Oh well, five out of six ain't too bad; maybe this is just an overdue clunker. But after tomorrow's play day, the big bad Phillies roll into town, and have Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels, and JA Happ ready to go. We'll see how far the Baby Buccos have progressed after that series.