Life After Littlefield: Pirates swept by Dodgers in weekend series


Jarrod Blumer, Contributor

The Pirates’ struggles continued this weekend, as they traveled out to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers and were promptly swept in the 3 game series.   While many “fans” think it’s time to press the panic button, the fact that it is only 6 games into the season makes that idea a bit irrational.

Friday night featured a pitching matchup between the Pirates’ newly acquired starter Jonathan Sanchez and Los Angles’ former Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke. The Pirates’ found themselves in another pitchers duel and unfortunately Sanchez blinked first giving up a solo homerun to LA’s Andre Ethier in the 2nd.  After that it was all zeros for Sanchez and Greinke until the 6th inning when Sanchez blinked again when he gave up back-to-back RBI doubles to Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez making it 3-0 LA. That was the end of Sanchez’s night, as he finished with a final line of 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1BB, 4K on 88 pitches of which 54 were thrown for strikes, an okay first start for the veteran who has a history of control problems.  And that was really all she wrote, as the Pirates were only able to get a measly 2 hits off of Greinke and the LA bullpen. Pedro and Marte continue to struggle at the dish as they combined to strikeout 3 times. Final score 3-0 Dodgers.

Saturday was an even better pitching matchup with Pittsburgh sending out their ace, AJ Burnett, and the Dodgers calling on their number one pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.  The headline of this game? Strikeouts, as both starters finished their nights with 9 K’s a piece.  The only run of the game came in the 3rd on a Mark Ellis single that brought in Carl Crawford after he stole second base following a 2-out infield single. Really lousy way to lose a game in my opinion.  Two things that I’ve noticed in AJ’s two starts this year are his bountiful strikeout totals and his extremely high pitch count. The strikeout has been AJ’s thing for a long time and I love it, but if he wants to stay in games long enough to get the win, he is going to have to find a way to cut his pitch count down.  Nonetheless the strikeouts continue to pile up for the Pirates’ hitters as well (Pedro with 3, Jose Tabata with 2, Clint Barmes with 2).  Something has to change. Final score 1-0 Dodgers.

Today’s game was a little more of the same.  Jeff Locke made his first start of the year for the Buccos and Hyun-Jin Ryu took the ball for LA.  Just when it seemed like every Pirate forgot how to hit, Starling Marte hit a leadoff single and Andrew McCutchen hit a 1-out 2-run homerun for his first of the year. It was also the team’s first of the year. Rather embarrassing, as was the Pirates’ offense for the rest of the day (2 hits over the next 8 innings).  Locke wasn’t terrible today, (6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) but he was still touched up by the heart of the Dodgers’ lineup.  Adrian Gonzalez had 4 RBI on the day including a 2-run single in the 1st and RBI singles in the 5th and 7th as well.  Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford gave Locke fits as well with an RBI and 2 runs scored, respectively.  The Pirate bullpen took a right hook right off the bat as the first batter reliever Chris Leroux faced took him to deep left field for a solo homerun. Final score 6-2 Dodgers.

The whole team is struggling at the plate for the most part, but Pedro is suffering more than the others considering the fact that he K’d 7 times this weekend.  I would say expect some lineup changes tomorrow in Arizona but with Clint Hurdle, you can’t really tell.  First pitch is 9:40 PM tomorrow. Wandy takes on Trevor Cahill.