There’s really not too much to say about this one. The 7-2 loss to the Braves is the fourth consecutive loss in the first game of a series that the Pirates have suffered. In total, they’ve lost 13 of 19 game ones.
I didn’t catch much of this game because of work, but it appeared to me that Medlen was commanding his pitches quite well. Or, the Pirates just continued their putrid hitting. Either way, the Braves starter tossed seven innings and allowed just one unearned run on a Gaby Sanchez RBI double with two outs in the third — a score that gave Pittsburgh an early 1-0 lead.
But A.J. Burnett surrendered that lead by serving up three two-run taters within the next two frames. Burnett HAD ONE JOB and that was to eat some innings and conserve the bullpen, but he lasted just five after giving up six earned runs on eight hits and three walks while punching out five — a solid recipe for a 102-pitch night.
Then the three available arms — Jared Hughes, Mike Zagurski and Ryan Reid — completed the remaining three innings, with only Zagurski allowing a run.
Though it likely had little effect on the final outcome, the fourth inning ejection of Russell Martin and subsequent tossing of Clint Hurdle seemed absurd. Here is a GIF (made by Cork Gaines) of the sequence.
I’m not going to throw more gasoline on the fire that is major league umpiring blunders because I think most of the rage is knee-jerk, but home plate umpire Dan Iassogna appears to be out of line for throwing Martin out of the game on THAT play. There is obviously no way of knowing for sure what Martin said (though Michael Sanserino tweeted this; you can fill in the expletive) but I have a tough time believing it warranted an ejection.
I highly doubt anything will come of this aside from some media/fan outcry for better umpiring, and the Pirates would have lost this one with or without Martin and Hurdle.
As for the draft bios I’ve been mentioning: there are 12 players who I either want the Pirates to draft or suspect they’ll draft and some overlapping of both categories in the case of certain guys. I’m going to figure out some way to balance the probability a guy gets selected with my own desires and rank the dozen options.
Tomorrow I’ll post the guys ranked 7-12; Wednesday will be the remaining 1-5.
Thankfully the looming draft gives fans something to focus on should the Pirates continue to fizzle in Atlanta.