clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Awful bullpen management blows Pirates' chances in 8-4 loss

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Vance Worley had an uncharacteristically uneven start, but the Pirates headed into the late innings with only a one-run deficit against the Tigers. And then Clint Hurdle was all like, "YOLO," and he allowed Stolmy Pimentel to ruin the game for no good reason.

The Pirates didn't do as much as they might have against Buck Farmer, the Tigers' incredibly inexperienced rookie starter. But they took a 4-1 lead into the fifth inning. Unfortunately, Alex Avila led off the bottom of the fifth with his second homer in two days, and the next two batters reached on a single and then a Jayson Nix error. After a sacrifice, Miguel Cabrera brought home the first runner on a sac fly, and Victor Martinez tied the game with an RBI single. Nick Castellanos then homered in the sixth to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead.

So, okay, it's the seventh inning, and you're down one run. And if you're Clint Hurdle, you bring in Stolmy Pimentel, a very interesting but thoroughly unproven pitcher who's only on the active roster because he's out of options. Because, apparently, you've got to wait to pitch Tony Watson until there's a four-run lead. Any other pitcher would have been a better choice than Pimentel. And so it's no surprise what happened next -- Ezequiel Carrera tripled, Ian Kinsler walked and stole second, Cabrera intentionally walked, and then Martinez brought home two runs with a single. Pimentel exited without retiring a single batter, then was charged with another run when Torii Hunter grounded into a force out.

That gave the Tigers an 8-4 lead, and so it didn't even really matter much when the Pirates staged a little rally in the ninth. What a terrible decision by Clint Hurdle. And lest you think the rest of the organization is blameless, it would have also been nice if the Pirates had another dependable reliever so that, with Jared Hughes pitching in the sixth and Justin Wilson, Mark Melancon and Watson having all pitched yesterday, there wouldn't have even been a temptation to do something like this. (Even though Hughes only threw four pitches today and I'm sure some combination of the other pitchers would have been available if the Pirates had been winning, but whatever.) In any case, this was a ridiculous and unnecessary blowout for a team in the midst of a pennant race.