Life after Littlefield: Bumpiest roller coaster season ever


Jarrod Blumer, Contributor

The 7-6 win on Saturday was a huge victory for the Pirates, but it was really all for not as the Pirates’ bullpen blew another lead on Sunday in the 13-9 loss.   Another good start from Wandy, who has pitched extremely well in his last 5 starts, and finally somewhat of an offensive outburst helped the Pirates break their 7 game losing streaking on Saturday.  Sunday was a different story as starter Jeff Locke didn’t make it out of the 5th inning.  As of right now they remain over .500 at 73-72, but are now 3 games out of a Wild Card spot and 4th in the NL Central, as the Milwaukee Brewers have leaped passed the Pirates.

Saturday looked to be a game that could help the Pirates catch fire has the regular season winds down.  Wandy went 6 strong innings giving up only 1 earned run in his 95 pitch effort and Andrew McCutchen seems to be getting back to his old form as he collected 2 more hits and his 28th homerun of the season.  The bullpen was shaky once again as in the last 2 innings Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan gave up 3 runs before securing the team’s 73rd win of the season.

Sunday’s game in Chicago began even better than Saturday’s, as through 4 and a half innings the Pirates were up 6-1 and Jeff Locke looked to be in cruise control.  Then the game got to the bottom of the 5th.  The Cubs hung a 4 spot on Locke chasing him after just 4 2/3 innings making it a 6-5 game.  From then on it turned into another mess for Pittsburgh’s bullpen.  Rick VandenHurk and Jared Hughes pitched to 5 hitters in the 6th innings allowing 5 runs to come across without recording an out.  In the 8th, Chris Leroux gave up another 3 runs as the bleeding would stop there making it 13-9.

This game was upsetting to say the least. Not just because the bullpen blew another important game, but also because the offense finally exploded for 9 runs.  Starling Marte had 3 hits, including a triple, and 2 stolen bases on the day.  McCutchen recorded 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 stolen bases as well.  Even the bottom of the order produced as Clint Barmes had 2 hits and Rod Barajas hit his 10th homerun of the season.  And finally, the guy who had the biggest game was Pedro.  El Toro had 2 monster opposite field homeruns bringing his total on the season to 29.  Nobody has hit that many since Jason Bay hit 35 in 2006, which Pedro definitely has a shot at reaching.  He also tallied 5 RBI in the game, which gives him exactly 80 on the year. This is the same player who many fans wanted to release 2 months into the season.

Pittsburgh goes for the series split tonight as Kevin Corriea tries to get the Buccos back in the playoff hunt with 17 just games left in the 2012 season.