One reason I'd resisted doing series previews until recently is that they can only prepare you so well for what's going to happen. In two or three games, practically anything could, and any series preview stands a chance of looking funny three days after it's published. Today's game is a case in point. Hey, Matt Harvey. He's a beast, and if the Pirates offense can't convincingly get to Mike Pelfrey, it doesn't have a prayer against Harvey, right?
Wrong. The Pirates tagged Harvey for seven runs in one of their best games of the season so far. In the first, Josh Harrison singled and stole second, and then Andrew McCutchen hit Harvey's 96-MPH fastball way into the Bucs' bullpen for a 426-foot home run.
Already, that was more that the Pirates could reasonably have expected out of a matchup against Harvey, but they weren't done. At all. Pedro Alvarez teed off for a solo homer to start the third, and then, after the Mets scored one on a couple singles and a groundout, the Bucs really went nuts in the bottom of the fourth. Jung-Ho Kang singled with one out and Alvarez doubled him home. Gregory Polanco and Francisco Cervelli then walked, and Alvarez came home on A.J. Burnett's sacrifice fly (!). Josh Harrison then brought in the other two runners with an opposite-field double down the line.
This inning would have seemed unthinkable a couple weeks ago. Next time the Pirates have another game when they can't score a runner on base (and those will happen), it's worthwhile to remember a day like this.
Actually, though, a lot of the Pirates' runs weren't really necessary anyway, because A.J. Burnett. Burnett pitched seven innings, struck out 10, walked none, and got eight ground ball outs. Oh, and the sacrifice fly, and a two-out single to turn the order over in the sixth. He was about as good as he possibly could have been.
The Mets got a who-cares run off Antonio Bastardo in the eighth, but there was never much doubt about the outcome here. Burnett and Alvarez looked even better than their 2013 selves, McCutchen and Harrison looked like their 2014 selves, and the Pirates soundly beat one of the best pitchers in baseball. You can't ask for much more than that.