J-Mac not efficient, Bucs lose 100th
McDonald needed 32 pitches to record an out in the first inning –42 pitches–overall and lasted just four innings as the Pirates lost 10-7 to the Astros on Friday night.
The loss was the Pirates 100th of the season –the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 2001.
The loss also ensured no .500 season at PNC Park this year. (The Pirates needed to sweep the Astros to finish with a winning record at home.)
“It’s an abysmal season as far as record goes,” Pirates manager John Russell stated. “We’re still concentrating on a lot of the things we need to do and making a lot of progress with our young players, and I’ve seen a lot of progress this last month and a half. But you can’t sugarcoat the record. It is what it is, and it’s awful, but we have to focus on getting these guys to be the players they can be.”
McDonald pitched four innings allowing three runs on five hits. It was his shortest outing since July 31st with the Dodgers. After needing 42 pitches to end the first inning, J-Mac needed 38 pitches the next three innings combined.
“Eighty pitches in four innings, that’s a lot,” Russell explained. “McDonald took a long time to get out of the first, the first two hitters really hurt him, so more than anything it was just a lot of pitches to throw in four innings. It’s getting toward the end of the season, and we didn’t want to push him anymore.”
McDonald also walked two batters in the first. Most of the pitches thrown in the first came from Bourgeois and Sanchez who worked 10 and 12 pitch counts.
“They put together two good at-bats the first two hitters,” McDonald said. “I threw a lot of pitches, and I tip my hat to them. They had two good at-bats.”
Astros starter Brett Myers extended his streak to 32 consecutive starts of six or more innings. It is the longest streak since Curt Schilling in 2002 with the Dbacks. Myers pitched six innings allowing six runs (one earned) on six hits.
Jose Tabata was pulled after the third inning. While running home on a two-RBI double by Garrett Jones, Tabata was removed from the game with left knee irritation.
“Tabata should be all right,” Russell said. “He had some irritation in his left knee under his left knee cap. He said from time to time it bothers him a little bit, and he made kind of a sudden stop and felt it and felt he could still play, but he was limping a little bit, and we didn’t want to take a chance with him. Strength is good, all the joints are good, and the X-rays came back negative. He’s day-to-day, and I know he wants to play, and we’ll see how he is Saturday.”
The Bucs battled throughout the game. Garrett Jones had a big night at the plate going 2-for-4 with four RBI. McCutchen also went 2-for-4 with walk, Alvarez went 1-for-3 with two RBI.
”I was very pleased with the offense. It was one of our better execution games,” Russell said. “We got guys over, and we got guys in, and we got sacrifice flies, and we got bunts down, and we did some good things to score runs. We just couldn’t find the combination to shut them down.”
The Bullpen struggled however, allowing seven runs through five innings of work. Daniel McCutchen allowed two, Leroux allowed three and supringsly, Hanrahan allowed two in the ninth.
“McCutchen and Leroux were just inconsistent and got behind,” Russell said. “That’s what hurt us all night.”
The Astros Brandon Lyon picked up his19th save allowing just one hit in the bottom of the ninth.