The Pirates and Diamondbacks split the four-game set. A series that was full of drama. From hit batsmen tension and controversial calls by the umpires. Arizona took the first game while the Pirates were able to take games two and three before losing the finale to the Diamondbacks.
After concluding the series, the Pirates have a record of 59-52 on the year. They currently sit in third place among the NL Central teams, a half game back of the Cardinals and 1.5 back of the first place Brewers. The Pirates are currently out of a wild card spot, a half game back of the San Francisco Giants who hold the top spot.
The Pirates dropped game one of the series after an unimpressive start from Jeff Locke, who took the loss. Our old friend Oliver Perez was the winning pitcher in the game for Arizona. Walker hit his 16th home run of the year, he and Polanco had multi-hit games for the Bucs. McCutchen, Martin and Walker all had rbis in the loss.
Game two featured a usable outing from Edinson Volquez. He wasn't great but he kept the Pirates in it. The Pirate bats came alive late as they rallied to tie it in the 8th after a clutch Alvarez double and then put up 5 runs in the ninth to ensure the victory. Tony Watson earned the win on the mound, he moved to (8-1) on the year, what a record for a setup guy. The Pirates collected an impressive 13 hits, Harrison, Mercer, McCutchen and Polanco all had multi hit games. Schultz took the loss for the Diamondbacks.
In game three Vance Worley gave the Pirates an excellent start allowing just one run. The Pirates once again came alive late to push them ahead after getting to the Diamondbacks bullpen. The Shark Tank held strong as Hughes and Watson through shutout innings, Frieri let a few come across in the 9th before closing it. Hughes earned the win in the game. Harrison homered, it was his 10th while McCutchen, Martin and Morel all joined him with multi-hit games. Ziegler took the loss out of the Pen for the Snakes.
The finale was a tough one for the Pirates, as they lost on a controversial play in the 10th. Liriano was adequate on the mound in his start. Despite out hitting the DBacks 10-7 the Pirates fell late. Harrison, Polanco, Davis and Martinez all collected multiple hits. Hughes, Watson and Wilson all threw shutout innings in relief. It wasn't until Arizona scored on Melancon in the 10th, who took the loss that they were able to go ahead for the win. The game ended on what would have been an inning ending double play as Gosewisch came across after Jayson Nix throw to turn it deflected off the hand of Ahmed sliding into second. We will wait to hear what MLB has to say about the play later this week.
In the series the Pirates used some late inning magic with the bats to take two of four from Arizona. They still seemed to leave a few to many runners on base, especially in the last game today. The Pirates continue to lead the league in LOB however they aren't having a problem getting those runners on which is promising. For the most part the starters gave the Pirates a chance in each game, which is all you can ask for. The bullpen was strong until Melancon's outing today, which depending on the final play could have been a scoreless inning. The starting pitchers continue to get beat on two strike counts, leaving pitches over the middle or allowing them to be to hittable when they are in favor during the at bat.
Marte should rejoin the team along with Neil Walker for the upcoming home stand. That should make for some more powerful lineups against the Marlins and Tigers this upcoming week. Andrew McCutchen came out of the game today with what was called "left side discomfort". We are still waiting to hear the verdict on him, hopefully its nothing serious, although he hasn't been great as of late the Pirates need him. They are still searching for a feasible leadoff hitter. Davis, Sanchez and Snider all tried it this series and none of those options worked. Gerrit Cole should be close to coming back, hopefully he has tightened up all the issues he wanted to work out with his mechanics. Should be a quality home stand. The Pirates get the Fish first, a surging team playing good ball as of late. Then, the Tigers come town who are sure to be tough customers. Important that the Pirates continue to try and win as many series' as possible to try and secure a playoff spot.
We're right in the middle of a pennant race here. No matter what issues arise, as they always seem to, the Pirates should be right in the thick of things the whole way through.
Bring on the Marlins, a packed PNC would help this week...