Maybe I missed some logical explanation from the Pirate broadcasters, but I was mystified by our strategy in that inning.
Pearce had led off with a single, followed by Crosby's infield hit to put runners on first and second with no outs and the punchless Ronnie Cedeno coming to the plate, followed by the pitcher's spot. An 8-year-old child understands in that situation you tell Cedeno to bunt and lift Ohlendorf for a pinch hitter. But apparently Russell is no 8-year-old child.
He had Cedeno swinging away, which resulted in a pop-up that advanced no one. Still, at that point there's only one out and arguably even more reason to bring in a pinch hitter. But Russell sends Ohlendorf to the plate, and he responds with yet another fly out that advances no one. One batter later, Laroche ends the inning.
To cap off the episode, Ohlendorf walks the leadoff batter on four pitches in the bottom of the inning and he's promptly replaced by Meek.
My point is, Ohlendorf had pitched a stellar game for six innings, but he's just one start removed from the DL. Why send him out for the seventh when your bullpen is pitching lights out? Maybe -- maybe -- you let him start the seventh if he's pitching really, really well. But if you had that much confidence in him, you wouldn't be replacing him after one batter. More importantly, the only way Ohlendorf should have been hitting with runners on base in the top of the inning is if he's working on a no-hitter. Any other situation and you lift him for a real hitter so you can pad your lead.
That's just Baseball 101, isn't it?
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