Yes, Enrique. I know what it feels like, loving some team that’s in a rush to throw things away. I’m not referring to the start of yet another second-half collapse that’s clearly underway (kidding!).
But now I know what it feels like, to be on the reverse side of such a game.
This must have been what Phillie fans felt when the Pirates managed 12 wins in 30 games from 2007-2011, a span in which Philadelphia collected five straight division titles. That’s obviously not a strong winning percentage at all, but the Pirates were bad while the Phillies were dominating.
Although the talent differential isn’t quite where it was in 2007-2012, the Pirates now have three wins in five tries against their intrastate foes in 2013 after tonight’s 3-1 loss.
Brandon Cumpton got the nod for this game in place of Jeff Locke, who was scratched after warming up in Sunday’s 14-inning marathon, and pitched as you would hope the Pirates’ No. 12 or 13 option at starting pitcher would pitch. The rookie righty kept the Pirates in the game, exiting after 5 2/3 innings of a six-hit, one-walk outing. Cumpton allowed three earned runs and struck out three.
The game was flowing along without a score for either team, but the Pirates’ fun ended in the sixth after Ryan Howard ended an 0-for-22 streak with an RBI single. A Domonic Brown sac-fly and Delmon Young RBI double later, the Pirates trailed 3-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, Garrett Jones supplied the only run for the home team when he crushed a 92-mph Jonathan Pettibone fastball that was left over the heart of the plate to center for a solo homer.
The Phillies made several nice defensive plays in this game to keep the Pirates off the board, including Chase Utley‘s spearing of a would-be Andrew McCutchen RBI single in the third that kept Starling Marte from scoring from second. With the bases loaded, Jones struck out as the following batter.
Then Brown made a nice play in the seventh to cut off Jordy Mercer‘s lead-off, roped hit to left. Brown got the ball well before the warning track, but his momentum carried him a few steps onto the dirt and toward the foul pole. He set his feet as best as possible, spun and threw a one-hopper right to Utley’s glove to nail Mercer at second.
The only other true scoring opportunity arose in the eighth, with Mercer again at the plate. The bases were loaded for the rookie shortstop, but Justin De Fratus got him to chase an 84 mph slider that fell far out of the bottom of the zone and nearly into the dirt.
Going back to the Enrique Iglesias track, we hear him tug at our heart strings and croon us with these lyrics:
Looking at the last 3 years like I did
I could never see us ending like this
Enrique’s right. The last three years would not leave me with the same disappointment as tonight, the end of a nine-game winning streak and a lost game on Cincinnati and perhaps St. Louis (which plays in Anaheim tonight) in their lead on the division.
The Pirates can rebound — as I’m sure Iglesias did after this heartbreak — tomorrow when they face John Lannan (4.83 ERA/ 3.50 FIP/ 4.29 xFIP) and run Jeff Locke (2.06/3.84/4.11) through his turn in the rotation.