This season, the heart of the Pittsburgh Pirates has been their pitching staff. Pitching has been carrying this team all season long. However, over the past two games, the Pirates staff has gotten hit hard and scored on several times. The worst part is that during these last two games, the Pirates’ pitchers who have been hit hard have been their aces Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett. These two have been the stop gaps during the season and on Wednesday and Friday night, they were anything but stop gaps.
Before the waiver-wire trade deadline, the Pirates made deals to bring hitters into the lineup, but no pitchers. The Pirates may have assumed that the pitching staff would stay together and be the best in baseball. However, it turns out pitching may be what was needed more than a few bats. I agree with the moves they made for Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd, but I would have liked them to have gotten at least a bullpen pitcher.
On Friday night, Burnett had a rough night, getting taken out after three innings. To make matters worse, Burnett was hit in the hand before he was taken out of the game. There were some positives that the Pirates can take out of the game, though. First off, they are still in first place after a terrible game. Also, their offense fought back to make it a game in the ninth. They were down 12-1 going into the 8th inning and made it 12-8 by the end. Hopefully for the Pirates, this was just one game and not a show of what the rest of the series will be like.
The Pirates need a pitching performance from someone else besides Burnett or Liriano. They hope that struggling pitcher Jeff Locke will be that guy to give them that start in a critical game on Saturday night.