Pirates 5, Astros 3
by Mr. Happy
It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times. Last night’s game against the Pirates started off, well, rocky for young Dallas Keuchel when Starling Marte, leading off in his very first big league game, homered on the very first pitch that was thrown to him. I’m no stat hound, but I bet that is a first in big league history. The stat hounds in the FSH production truck found a guy back in 1922 who homered in his first big league ballgame while leading off the ballgame, but I don’t think that they even know whether it was on the first offering. I doubt that the statistics were that precise back then.
In any event, it’s already 1-0. After Walker flied out to Maxwell, Superman singles. Garrett Jones then lauches a two run jack to right field, and now it’s 3-0 with only one out, and apoplexy was brewing in the Game Zone. Keuchel would buckle down and retire the next two hitters to stop the barrage at 3-0. In the second inning, after walking Barajas to begin the inning, Barmes golfs one into the Crawford Boxes, and now it’s 5-0 with no outs in the top of the second inning. Cries of “uncle” could be heard from the partisan crowd of 16 brave souls who valiantly showed up for the game.
From here on though, Dallas Keuchel settled in and pitched pretty damn well, tossing in essence five straight scoreless frames before being removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning. However, the Astros couldn’t scratch the tatted up wily old veteran A.J. Burnett, who threw seven innings of shutout ball. In the eighth inning, CJ led off with a chop shot into the Crawford Boxes, narrowing the gap to 5-1.
After Bogusevic grounded out to the right side for the umpteen thousandth time (even JD said that he was a league leader in ground balls), the surprise hitting Carlos Corporan took Burnett deep to right field, and now its 5-2. Hurdle has seen enough of Burnett, and he brings in Brad Lincoln who, after issuing a leadoff walk to Downsie and going 2-0 to Altuve, prompted a visit from pitching coach Ray Searage. Lincoln bore down and induced two ground ball outs to end the frame.
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth, and it is still 5-2 as the bully tossed three scoreless frames in a row! The absolutely grotesque looking Joel Hanrahan is on to close it out. I figure that we’ve actually got a slim shot here because we touched him up for a blown save in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Maybe lightning would strike twice?
After retiring Maxwell on a bunt and nice play by Alvarez to nip the speedy Maxwell, the wild Hanrahan walks Moore. With JD at the dish, Hanrahan puts Barajas to some serious blocking work on a series of bounced heaters, one of which skipped far enough away to move Moore to second base. But JD strikes out. CJ then singles to left field, scoring Moore. Hanrahan uncorks another wild pitch in the dirt, and CJ takes second base. Was it going to happen again? Was Hanrahan imploding? However, Hanrahan had an ace up his sleeve, and it was the fact that he was facing Bogusevic, who obliged by striking out swinging to end the ball game.
The silver lining tonight? Do we have to? Okay. Despite allowing three home runs in a little over one inning, young Keuchel bowed his neck and threw five shutout frames. He even caught Superman looking once, striking out two in the ballgame, the other being Burnett. Keuchel doesn’t have “swing and miss” stuff. To the contrary. He has “swing and hit hard” stuff. The bully tossed three scoreless frames, which rarely happens these days. And the hitters scored three runs late to make it respectable and close enough to bring in the closer. In any event, it was the tenth loss in a row by the score of 5-3.
The record since the 22-23 start, you ask? A stellarly dreadful 12-43, since last night was the 100th game of the season. I heard somewhere but haven’t verified that the club is 2-25 in the last 27 games. However, that wouldn’t surprise me. Come on back to the Game Zone tonight to see what the fine discussion there is all about. It can be literary, with haiku poetry. Or a discussion of existential philosophy. Jeff Karstens goes tonight for the Buccos, and the Good Guys send Jordan Lyles to the
sacrificial altar bump. The over-under on longballs tonight for young Lyles is two.