Life After Littlefield: I know it’s a little late, but here is a Cards’ series recap

Jarrod Blumer, Contributor

It has been a couple days since the Pirates’ series against the Cardinals’ ended, but I think that with everything that has gone on in Boston over the past few days, this will help everyone get back up to speed on where the Pirates are at the moment.

Monday’s game was a complete disaster by the time the 2nd inning started.  After James McDonald and Lance Lynn each gave up a run in their first inning’s of work, J-Mac hopped on the struggle bus in the 2nd and never got off.  A 2-run double by John Jay, an error by Clint Barmes allowing one run to score, another 2-run double from Allen Craig, an RBI single by Carlos Beltran, and finally an RBI double by Yadier Molina brought McDonald’s day to a quick end.  His final line was 7.2 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 2 BB.  You might be thinking, “Well only 3 runs were really his fault.”  That is not the case.  J-Mac was awful from the start, leaving his fastball up in the zone and topping out at 91 occasionally.  Cardinal hitters were basically having batting practice because he couldn’t throw any of his other pitches for strikes.  So Justin Wilson came in and did fairly well going 3.1 inning and only giving up 2 runs.

The Pirates scored 3 runs in the 3rd on an RBI double by McCutchen and a 2-run homerun from Neil Walker making the score 10-4.  Bryan Morris came in for Wilson and was superb pitching 3 scoreless innings.  Just one of many assets the Bucs have coming out of the pen.  Pittsburgh plated 2 more in the 8th on RBI singles by Michael McKenry and Starling Marte.  But that was just too little too late. Final score 10-6.

The game on Tuesday was rained out after just 2 innings.  This is upsetting for 2 reasons.  One is because the Pirates were winning at the time it was called and the second is because Pedro owns Jake Westbrook, who was the starter for St. Louis in the game.  No make-up date has been released yet.

AJ Burnett took the hill Wednesday against St. Louis’ top pitching prospect Shelby Miller.  The Pirates jumped out to an early lead after Travis Snider singled in Starling Marte after he led the game off with a triple.  And that was really all AJ would need, as he was filthy once again on the mound, racking up the strikeouts at an unreal rate.  His K of Beltran in the second was the 2000th of his career, putting him in a group with Andy Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia, and Roy Halladay as the only active pitchers with that many Ks.  Quite an impressive group.

The Pirates scored again in the 6th on an RBI single by Walker and again in the 7th after a throwing error by Cards’ 3rd baseman David Freese, which allowed Russell Martin to score making the score 3-0.  They added even more insurance runs with an RBI double by Gaby Sanchez and an RBI single by Pedro.

That would be all the bullpen needed as Melancon, Watson, and Grilli closed out the last 2 innings.  AJ has been exceptional this year, after he turned in 7 shutout innings and 8 more strikeouts in a pitching performance where he was perfect into the 6th and had a no-hitter going into the 7th.

The Pirates have split the first two games of their series with the Atlanta Braves and look to at least earn a series split with a win tonight.