With all due respect to a terrific outing from James McDonald tonight, and an all around great team win in a much, much needed game, this was an amazing performance from Pedro Alvarez tonight. Pedro was 4 for 5, with 2 MONSTROUS home runs, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI. And did I mention anything about the monstrosity of the two home runs?
Nevermind they were big home runs.
Nevermind they were long home runs.
This game was pretty much the biggest game the Pirates have ever played in the history of PNC Park. They lose tonight, and they are dead to rights – slumping, season slipping away, 4 games out of the wild card with no hope fading fast. But Pedro’s home runs not only led the team in the 9-0 win, but the energy that came along with those two home runs just may have provided the spark and energy that this team desperately needed to get back some positive momentum in the playoff chase.
A 9-0 win gave the Buccos their 69th win of the season. That is more than they won in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005. And it is still only August 28th. So that is a great milestone, but in this season of risen expectations, it is just a step along the way. And as big of a game as it was, it’s career as the biggest game ever in PNC Park history will be shortlived, as tomorrow night, the Pirates will play one just a little bigger. But after that game, it’s 9 games against the Brewers, Astros, and Cubs. Then 3 in Cincinnati, followed by 10 more games against the Brewers, Astros and Cubs. That is a schedule that plays favorably for the Pirates, but they still have to win the games.
The performance from Pedro tonight was as clutch and locked in as you will ever see anyone. Hopefully it was the spark that this team needs to carry them out of August and into September and beyond. Go Buccos!
Happy 4th of July everyone. The Pittsburgh Pirates definitely made it a happy 4th of July. Just like they did the 3rd of July. And the 2nd of July. And 42 other days so far during this 2012 Major League Baseball season. The Buccos are doing exactly what they need to be doing right now… making hay when the sun shines so to speak. When you play the worst teams in baseball, you need to beat them. And with the 6-4 win over the Houston Astros today, they did that for the 3rd time in the first 3 games of this series. Today’s win, the first without the benefit of a Pirates home run in 12 games, moved the Pirates to 45-36 – a record that is more and more making the whole .500 or bust quest a very minor afterthought.
This team finds ways to win. Today, it was Mayor Pedro, the Fort and the Legend all coming through with offensive games. Pedro’s 2 run single now gives him an incredible 48 RBI this season, after 81 games in the books and 81 more to go. It’s easy to figure out season paces right now, but considering his early season struggles, I’d have to take the over on his 96 RBI pace to end the season right now. And while we’re at it, hats off to Pedro Alvarez for really sticking with it and working hard to persevere this season. I think he is always going to be a streaky hitter, but at Clint Hurdle said, Pedro wouldn’t have gotten many votes for mayor earlier this year. Not too many people believed in him, and now, he’s found a home in the middle of this lineup and has show terrific improvement with plate discipline and pitch selection. He’s proving to be an inspiration to anyone that has ever had to overcome adversity in life, and he’s a guy that I am rooting for to be the best player that his talents will allow.
Michael McKenry has filled in admirably this last week or so when Rod Barajas get dinged up in the Phillies game, and Garrett Jones has also really picked up on his consistency as well. Today, those three guys brought the lumber, going 5 for 9 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored. MVP in waiting Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 3 to keep his average at a National League leading .360. And every Pirates starter except for pitcher Kevin Correia had either a hit or a run scored today, which has been typical of this total team effort we have seen this year.
The win today moves the Pirates above the Texas Rangers for the best home record in all of baseball at 26-13, and they are now 25-12 overall since May 24, which will be tied for the best record in baseball since that time if the Yankees lose to Tampa today.
Pirates will go for the 4 game sweep and a ’10 games over .500′ record tommorrow night, with Jeff Karstens facing Bud Norris. The weekend ahead brings in the San Francisco Giants sans Matt Cain. The weekend matchups for that series are: Erik Bedard vs. Barry Zito, James McDonald vs. Ryan Vogelsong, and A.J. Burnett vs. Tim Lincecum. There is a decent chance the Pirates could hit the All Star break in first place with a blistering 49 wins.
For two nights in a row, the Buccos roll past the Reds. The above screenshot is the view of the standings on MLB.com. The Pirates are 7 games over .500, which has only happened on one other day since 1992 (April 21, 2002 at 12-5). The world is talking Pirates. And we’ve decided that it’s probably time we got back to working on this blog.
We’re having a call in talk show tonight at 11 p.m. EST.
We’d love for you to join us if you can.
Let’s Go Bucs!