Originally written May 25, 2013 on Raise the Jolly Roger!:
The Bucs didn’t get off to a good start to their quest for a rare series win at Miller Park, as the bats fell silent in a tough 2-1 loss on Friday night. This wasn’t a typical Pirates loss in Milwaukee. It was no slugfest, the Brewers weren’t hitting the ball all over the park or parading around the bases, and nothing strange really happened at all. The Bucs just couldn’t get the bats going – which is rare even for them in Milwaukee. For some reason, the Bucs continue to have problems against Marco Estrada – who the rest of the league has no problem with at all. Estrada breezed through seven innings and allowed just one run. He carried a perfect game into the fifth and struck out eight. The Pirates scored five runs against him in late April, but he posted a similar outing against them at PNC last week and has never lost to the Pirates. They just can’t seem to solve him. A.J. Burnett was a tough luck loser yet again. He allowed a mere five baserunners in seven innings, but unfortunately three of those came in the second – resulting in two runs on an Alex Gonzalez double. Burnett has been phenomenal lately – he’s now gone seven innings in five consecutive starts, has a tidy 2.57 ERA, and leads the league in strikeouts. And yet, he’s 3-5…the worst record among all Pirate starters this year (except for Jonathan Sanchez). The Bucs are averaging 2.45 runs in his starts, nearly a run and a half less than their season average of 3.9 runs per game. His run support stinks, but AJ has been excellent and was solid again on Friday, yielding just the two runs while striking out six. The Bucs had some chances to tie but were stopped multiple times late in the game by solid defense from the Brewers. Just before Neil Walker hit a long RBI double for the Bucs’ lone run, shorstop Jean Segura (who certainly looks like a star in the making) made a great play on Russell Martin‘s grounder to the hole that looked like a hit. Jose Tabata lined what looked like a game-tying single with two outs in the eighth, but it was straight at the first baseman for an out. Just before that, Starling Marte was thrown out by a hair on a great play by 3B Aramis Ramirez. In the ninth, Brewers closer Jim Henderson knocked down Martin’s liner up the middle with McCutchen on first and ended up getting an out from the play. (Henderson was injured in the process, which could be a big problem for the Brewers.) The Bucs’ offensive output was disappointing nonetheless, but they just couldn’t seem to get the break they needed to tie things up. Can’t win every one-run game. Brewers 2, Pirates 1 / Box / 2013 Record: 29-19 / Next: Saturday, at Brewers, 4:10 Source: FanGraphs

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