Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/5/13
The Bucs dropped the series to the Nats on Sunday, falling in frustrating fashion for the second day in a row. They had a golden opportunity to break the game open early and missed it, and things went downhill from there. The game could not have started any better for the Pirates, and that’s not hyperbole. Wandy Rodriguez tossed 1-2-3 first and Bryce Harper was ejected after arguing a strike three call. (The ump was more to blame than Harper, really – he walked in from third base and continued to yell at him after Harper questioned the appealed swing call.) Still, it was a great break for the Bucs to have the opposition’s star player out of the game right away. Then in the bottom of the first, Starling Marte led off with a homer.  Things kept on going the Bucs’ way after that – Jordy Mercer ripped a double, Andrew McCutchen reached on a throwing error, and Gaby Sanchez walked. 1-0, bases loaded, no outs against what looked like a rattled Gio Gonzalez. That’s where the good fortune ended. Gio struck out Russell Martin and Michael McKenry and got Brandon Inge to ground out. So it was still just 1-0. Wandy gave up a quick run in the next inning, Gonzalez settled down, and you could tell that missed chance was going to haunt the Bucs. Indeed it did, as they didn’t manage any more offense until Martin doubled home Sanchez in the sixth. Wandy was able to post a quality start, but just barely (6 innings, 3 runs) and it took him 117 pitches to do it. Still, he struck out seven and walked just one, so I think it’s fair to call it a solid outing. The big blow against him came from Danny Espinosa, who pounded a hanging curve deep to left for a two-run homer in the  fourth. That came right after Wandy was frustrated with a balk call on a pickoff move – he’s made mistakes after showing frustration like that in two consecutive outings now. Still, he was able to settle down after that and get through six innings and gave the Bucs a chance to win. The offense was silenced after Martin’s RBI double, though, and the only other chance they had came immediately after that – but the bottom of the lineup (Inge and McDonald) was even weaker than usual today and failed to get the run in and tie the game. The Nats’ bullpen took care of business, and like yesterday, the Bucs’ did not. Since they were down a run, Clint Hurdle of course did not even think about using his best relievers. Instead Bryan Morris came on and allowed a three-run homer in the eighth to essentially end the game. Notes: Jose Contreras made his Pirates debut in the seventh. He tossed a scoreless inning and struck out two, and his pitches looked sharp. The Bucs were 0-for-9 with RISP. Using Inge in RF and Martin at 3B did not result in any defensive problems. Marte when leading off the game: .600/.667/.960. Whoa. (Via @DavidManel) SERIES WRAPUP This makes two series losses in a row for the Bucs, so they’re slumping a bit now after such a great stretch in mid-to-late April. The Nats are good and the Bucs faced tough pitching this weekend, but both losses were very winnable so it’s definitely frustrating. Still, not the end of the world as they sit three games over .500 despite losing four of six. The schedule lightens up considerably now, and there’s an off day tomorrow. Time to regroup and start winning series again. Nationals 6, Pirates 2 / Box / 2013 Record: 17-14 / Next: Tuesday, vs. Mariners, 7:05 Source: FanGraphs
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