The Pirates fell 9-5 to the Brewers Wednesday in a game that, fortunately, might be Jeff Locke's last start in awhile.
Locke went just three innings, allowing five runs and failing to match even the modest pace of Brewers starter Chase Anderson, who wasn't exactly Pedro Martinez himself. Locke struck out five but also walked five. Even in the first inning (the only one where he didn't allow a run), Locke got bailed out by a good stop from Jung Ho Kang to start a double play. (To be fair, the batter, Ryan Braun, might have been ruled out even before that, as he was in fair territory when his own batted ball hit him -- Clint Hurdle got thrown out arguing the lack of an out call, sparing himself the displeasure of watching the rest of Locke's start in person.) Locke hasn't had a quality start, or even pitched more than five innings in a start, since June 25. And if my math is right, he has a 7.85 ERA since June 4.
That's an arbitrary endpoint, and Locke isn't this bad. But he's bad, and his teammates deserve better. The Pirates have a number of off days coming up and won't, or shouldn't start him; they'll be able to get to the trade deadline without him starting, and hopefully they'll be able to rely on better talent after that.
Anyway, the Pirates' offense -- led by David Freese, Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer -- was good enough, but Locke and A.J. Schugel (who allowed three runs in the sixth) dug holes too deep for the Pirates' hitters to climb out of.