Pirates Lose To Reds; Doubleheader Tomorrow Could Be A Problem

This game wasn't a worst-case scenario for the Pirates as they head into their doubleheader tomorrow, but it wasn't very good, either. The Bucs jumped out to an early lead in the first on Andrew McCutchen's two-run homer, but James McDonald, as he so often does, imploded in the middle-late innings, allowing a double and a walk in the sixth, and then a three-run jack to Joey Votto. I was listening to the game on the radio and was wondering if Clint Hurdle should have taken McDonald out, since he'd thrown a ton of pitches in the first inning in particular. But I can't blame Hurdle for feeling like he ought to get as much as possible out of McDonald, given that the Pirates have to pitch 18 innings tomorrow, and the Bucs will be using spot starters in two of their next three games.

Anyway, Jose Tabata led off the bottom of the inning with a triple, and then Garrett Jones homered on a 1-2 Mike Leake pitch way out of the strike zone, so the Pirates retook the lead. But then the Pirates had to use Jason Grilli and Jose Veras en route to Joel Hanrahan. Unfortunately, it sounded like the suddenly-mortal Hanrahan was really struggling to throw strikes, and he allowed one walk/single after another until the Reds had the lead back. Dan McCutchen had to come on and finish out the inning, and then the Pirates couldn't score to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth after Josh Harrison was caught stealing with no outs. (Clint Hurdle was thrown out arguing the call.) 

So, the Bucs didn't get the win, and didn't preserve their bullpen. Hanrahan has pitched three straight days and hasn't been good recently; he almost certainly shouldn't pitch tomorrow. Jose Veras has pitched three straight days as well. Good luck to the Bucs getting through two games tomorrow.

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