Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 4/15/13
This one started and ended with James McDonald. What an absolutely horrible performance. The Cardinals obliterated J-Mac, who looked absolutely helpless out on the mound against a team he dominated last season. The Pirates ended up having a pretty decent day at the plate but it didn’t matter. Thanks to some bad St. Louis baserunning and a couple hard-hit balls right at people, McDonald found himself in a position where he could’ve gotten out of the second inning with only one run in against him. Even before that point, though, you could tell he looked bad. His fastball velocity remains in the 89-90 range, which is well down from last season. He had no command of it either, and wasn’t finding much success with the curve. His slider was also nowhere to be seen. All these things were partially true in James’ prior two starts this season, but he still managed to put together a couple of decent outings. Not today. The Cardinals were relentless, and their powerful lineup just absolutely drilled liner after liner against him. When McDonald had a chance to escape the second, Jon Jay doubled down the line in right instead to plate two runs. After a walk, Clint Barmes made an error on a tough play, bailing J-Mac out of any more earned runs for the inning…but don’t let the line fool you. Three more booming base hits followed to knock him out of the game before the second inning was over. The score was 8-1. This was an outing that certainly makes you wonder if McDonald will make his next start–it’s reasonable to speculate something’s wrong with him physically and he could hit the DL. Besides all that, the game went fairly well…but not well enough to make up seven runs. Justin Wilson allowed two more runs but covered 3.1 innings, and Bryan Morris and Tony Watson combined to post zeroes the rest of the way. The offense generally had good at-bats and produced multiple threats and mini-rallies. There were several instances where one more hit could’ve made the game very interesting, but each attempt came up short. Still, it was good to see the bats put six on the board and constantly threaten rather than go down quietly as we’ve seen so many times in situations like this. Neil Walker hit a 2-run homer, Starling Marte had three more hits, Jose Tabata went 2-for-2, and Garrett Jones was on base three times. So, there were some positives. Unfortunately, another game like this one is a distinct possibility with Jonathan Sanchez taking the mound on Tuesday night. After an encouraging start to the year, the Pirates’ rotation has quickly developed into a pretty big mess. Let’s hope Wandy Rodriguez is ready to pitch this weekend and Francisco Liriano (who pitched well in his first rehab start tonight) can hurry back soon. Notes: Russell Martin played third base for the last few innings after Hurdle brought in Michael McKenry. He snared a liner but couldn’t make a tough play on a slow dribbler. Bryan Morris tossed three scoreless and hitless innings, but walked three. This was probably the highlight of the game: Great shot of Big Glove Guy and stunned Beltran RT @tombraggsports: Oh man. The internet wins again. twitter.com/TomBraggSports… — Brian McElhinny (@rtjr) April 16, 2013 Cardinals 10, Pirates 6 / Box / 2013 Record: 6-7 / Next: Tuesday, vs. Cardinals, 7:05 Source: FanGraphs
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