Pirates broadcaster Joe Block could be forgiven for his Freudian slip in the bottom of the fourth inning, when he said “And the Cardinals get a run.”
We’re all a little unused to the Pirates playing small ball, after all, but there it was. Bryan Reynolds hit a double, Adam Frazier bunted—successfully!—to get Reynolds to third, and Colin Moran sac-flew him home to make it 1-0 Pirates, not Cards, Joe.
It didn’t hold though. Matt Carpenter singled, and Yadier Molina got him home the old-fashioned way—a towering homer off Derek Holland in the top of the seventh to put the lead in the Cardinals’ favor, 2-1, and there it stayed.
What was particularly galling was that Joe Musgrove’s excellent six innings were wasted. Eleven strikeouts, which is a career high for him, three hits, no runs ... this was really the best Joe’s looked this year. He was 94 pitches in, though, and isn’t that far removed from a triceps injury.
Has it only been a few days since Pirates fans weren’t worried about the bullpen?
And I’m using this GIF way too often:
To be fair, the Bucs bullpen collectively gave up three hits as well. They just happened at the absolute wrong time at too far a distance. And we all know that the lack of run production makes a bad situation worse. It’s obvious that Derek Shelton is trying to make something happen, but it’s also obvious he hasn’t figured out what that is yet. With only a week left in this truncated season, he probably won’t, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t try. I like that about Shelty.
At least if the Cardinals make the Plague Playoffs, they have the Pirates to thank. Winning four in a row is a good thing to do when you’re trying to make the postseason.