The Pirates showed their backbone in withstanding a 9th inning HR from the Reds’ Ryan Ludwick off of Joel Hanrahan tying the game when they put back-to-back doubles on the board off of Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman to retake the lead. From Clint Barmes and Michael McKenry no less. The Bucs are now two games above .500 and two games behind the 1st place Reds. Now on to inter-league play.
With the ongoing discussion of the batting order and the starting rotation, there are many questions to consider. Brad Lincoln struggled in his recent start and Kevin Correia didn’t fair much better. Lincoln has excelled from the bullpen where he can unleash everything without having to conserve steam. Correia has been solid his first time through the opposing teams lineup, but struggling mightily the second time through. That would seem to indicate he might be a good fit for a bullpen role as well.
Indianapolis boasts a few arms worthy of consideration of spot starts in Pittsburgh to see if gold can be struck with Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, and Jeff Locke. My guess is Brad Lincoln will get one more start to see what he can do. If he can’t nail down a spot before Karstens comes back, I anticipate at least a look at one of these young guns.
Pedro Alvarez was moved to the 5th spot in the order. I would like to see him still batting cleanup, but I can’t argue. Garrett Jones has been playing well, and Pedro struggled in the role. Barmes has been hitting better since being sat for a spell, so I can’t complain about Josh Harrison not playing at SS. Jose Tabata had earned my displeasure with some recent plays lacking hustle, then goes 1st to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt. All in all, I am not entirely impressed with many of the individual performances of the Pirates, but that is why it is a team game.