Friday, May 17, 2013

BREWERS/PIRATES SERIES REVIEW: Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

Monday, 5/13: Brewers 5, Pirates 1
Tuesday, 5/14: Brewers 3, Pirates 4
Wednesday, 5/15: Brewers 1, Pirates 3
Thursday 5/16: Brewers 1, Pirates 7

Win Probability Stars
5/14 Carlos Gomez doubled to right.  Ryan Braun scored. (+.139 WPA)

5/15 Jonathan Lucroy tripled to center. (+.127 WPA)

5/14 Jean Segura homered. (+.116 WPA)

Brewers sweep the Pirates! Brewers sweep the Pirates!  Well, not exactly.  But that’s what we were all thinking coming into the series because, you know, it’s the Pirates.  Monday’s game certainly did nothing to make us think otherwise.   Estrada pitched a 7 inning, 1-run gem and the Brewers backed him up with 5 runs and a hilarious number of stolen bases (6), 3 of which came from Jean Segura who also had 3 hits.  That’s more or less where the fun stopped. 

Things seemed to get off on the right foot in the second game as Segura hit a solo home run in the first inning.  Lohse was a bit shaky, but overall it wasn't a terrible start.  He went 5 2/3 innings and while he gave up just 2 runs, he also allowed 5 walks which was exactly the number of walks he allowed in all his previous starts this season.  The Brewers had a 1 run lead going into the 8th until John Axford gave up a single to Neil Walker and then a double to Russell Martin, tying it up.  The game would go into extra innings, until Andrew
McCutchen ended things with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th off of Michael Fiers.

Gallardo pitched on Wednesday and, well, was Gallardo.  He only allowed 2 runs but couldn’t get past the 6th inning.  The offense was pretty quiet except for a RICKIE WEEKS HOME RUN!!!  Unfortunately he followed that effort up with a botched play, which was not entirely his fault.  With McCutchen on third, Weeks was able to make an impressive play to stab a grounder from Neil Walker, but the throw was a bit short and Alex Gonzalez, the other (main?) culprit here, wasn’t able to pick it. Walker reached and McCutchen scored.  It didn’t really matter though, as Weeks’ home run was the only run of the game for the Brewers.

Hiram Burgos, and his righteous eyebrows, took the mound for the series finale.  Coming off what could very well end up being the worst start of his major league career, Burgos pitched relatively well going 5 innings and giving up 3 runs.  In the fifth inning Alex Gonzalez wasn’t able to pick a throw from Betancourt allowing Starling Marte to reach base.  Burgos then allowed a home run to Travis Snider.  He would get through the inning, but unfortunately that’s as far into the game as he would go.  Ramirez pinch hit for him in the 6th to no avail.  The Pirates would then put the game away in the bottom of that inning tagging Figaro for 4 runs (3 earned). 

That’s it.  Nothing else of import happened.  Okay fine.  Francisco Rodriguez made his Brewers season debut, pitching a 1-2-3 8th inning including a strikeout.  In order to make room for him on the roster the Brewers moved Taylor Green to the 60-Day DL and optioned Blake Lalli to AAA.  So yeah, 8 man bullpen again.  Huzzah…

MVP: Marco Estrada

Estrada had his worst outing against the Cardinals, sorry the evil, baby eating, puppy kicking Cardinals, last week.  Afterwards he admitted feeling lost out there so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when his start against the Reds on Sunday was pushed back to Monday against the Pirates.  It was a good decision too, because Marco had easily his best start of the year.  He went 7 innings for just the second time this year giving up just 1 run on 3 hits and 1 BB while striking out 5.  Make no mistake, PNC Park gets an assist here because there were more than a few long loud outs, a couple of which might have been home runs at Miller Park, but who cares?  Can’t we just let him have this one?  It was a good outing when Estrada (and the Brewers who had been on a 4 game slide) needed it most.  It was also the only win of the series...

LVP: Afredo Figaro

I struggled with this decision.  I like Figaro, I really do.  I was all set to give the “honors” to Yuni B.  I wanted to.  It would have been cathartic.  I mean, the guy did nothing in the series until game 4 when he singled and drew a walk.  But I felt Alex Gonzalez just edged him out.  His inability to pick the throw from Weeks lead to a run and only added fuel to the fire for people that inexplicably want Weeks cut.  His inability to pick the throw from Betancourt resulted in Burgos giving up a 2 run home run instead of a solo shot.  Unfortunately Figaro’s outing on Thursday beat them both.  When he came in the game the Brewers were down by 2 and still had a chance to win the game.  The Pirates were up by 6 when he was pulled after recording only 1 out.  That pretty much says it all.

Yeah, I know. It’s technically 3 different plays, but it’s what stuck out to me as the most enjoyable thing from this sad series.  Rickie Weeks’ solo shot was a close second.

What’s Next

I really didn’t think I’d be writing this, but the Brewers have to be thrilled to leave PNC Park.  They’ll finish their brutal road trip in Mordor for a weekend series against the Cardinals, who by the way have lost 3 games in May.  One of them was Thursday against the Mets so I guess anything is possibly, right?  Thankfully, as it stands now, the Brewers will miss Wainwright and Miller.

Probable Pitchers:

Friday, 5/17: Peralta vs. Garcia
Saturday, 5/18: Estrada vs. Lynn
Sunday, 5/16: Lohse vs. (John) Gast

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