Really don’t even know where to begin with this one. I guess I can start by saying that it was hands down the worst game that the Pirates played the entire season. It’s games like this that make you wonder how a starting pitcher doesn’t grab up his struggling, to put it politely, teammate and ask him, “What are you doing?”
A team that is in the midst of the playoff race like the Pirates are cannot afford to play games like this in September. They especially can’t do it against a team like the Chicago Cubs when you have your stopper on the hill. AJ wasn’t dazzling this time out like his last start in Chicago. But he still didn’t pitch as bad as the score made it looked. It isn’t exactly what you want from your ace down the stretch (5IP, 7R, 3ER, 4K) but as the season drags on, AJ can’t go eight shutout with double digit K’s every start.
Errors are part of the game and a veteran pitcher like AJ should be accustomed to dealing with a rough game like this. But again, he can’t strike out everyone, as bad as he might want to, so the defense has to be accountable when a ball is hit to them. Tonight they weren’t. Seven errors is a high total for a Little League game let alone a game with professionals playing. Brock Holt and Starling Marte both had two errors apiece. Yes, they are rookies but they are in the MLB, in a Wild Card chase, this cannot happen. Ever. Josh Harrison also had an error and official scoring saved him from being charged with a second one. Why Clint Hurdle plays him I will never know. He hustles and gives 110%, but we aren’t in gym class so a guy who has eight walks in 86 games and is batting .238 really shouldn’t be starting all that often the rest of the year. Also Rod Barajas had an error but that really isn’t all that surprising because there is a better chance the Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen, than Rod winning a Gold Glove.
So, now on to the positives in this game. Yeah there really weren’t all that many if any. Pedro Alvarez had another extra-base hit as he continues to try and carry this team to the postseason. Also Michael McKenry tallied another RBI with a pinch-hit double well after the game was out of reach.
The Pirates’ chances of making the playoffs really aren’t all that higher based on the past few weeks of play. A .500 season is even starting to look rather bleak at this point, but there are 25 games left and they need to win 10 to finish over .500. It’s going to be as tough as climbing Mt. Everest in shorts and a cutoff, but that’s why they play the games.