Home > Pirates > Game 122: Reds 11, Bucs 8

Game 122: Reds 11, Bucs 8

There was so much that happened in this game tonight, I don’t know where to start.

Kevin Correia continued his second-half transformation into a pumpkin, delivering a performance that was somehow uglier than his facial hair. Correia struggled through six innings allowing three homers in the process, but in spite of his miserable night the Pirates somehow stayed in the game and battled the Reds through to the 9th, where everything fell to pieces

It’s not often the Bucs allow eight runs and find themselves still in a game, but last night they put together one of their better offensive performances of the year (with Buntin’ Clint Hurdle in the locker room from the 6th inning on) putting up 8 runs on 14 hits. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Bucs pitching staff simply could not find an answer for the Reds potent offense.

Third base coach Nick Levya made some truly awful decisions. He held Tabata at 3rd in the 5th, Wood in the 6th, and then Walker in the 7th. The first two decisions, while questionable, are at least defensible. The Pirates were down four in the 5th and three in the 6th, which is certainly early enough in the game to be cautious. But holding Walker in the 7th seemed particularly bizarre when you consider Ludwick hit the ball into left field where rookie Dave Sappelt  had all kinds of trouble fielding it. At that point I figured that since Levya had been criticized so much this year for being overly aggressive with sending runners (which is likely how Hurdle wants him to do it) that he may be a little gunshy. But then in the 8th with NOBODY out and the tying run already across, he sent Garrett Jones after seeing Sappelt slightly bobble the ball. Jones was thrown out by four furlongs. Later in the inning Levya sent Cutch on Ludwick’s shallow fly ball to center. Cutch never had a chance, and instead of having the bases loaded with two outs and the hot bat of Brandon Wood at the plate, the inning was over. The Pirates had made two outs at home plate in the inning.

Levya’s name has been brought up far too many times this year. It is impossible to quantify how many runs (and possible games) he has cost the Pirates this year, but it’s fairly clear that he is overmatched as third base coach.

Then came the meltdown in the top of the 9th, where Joel Hanrahan somehow couldn’t find the zone, Dave Sappelt flared a base hit to right, and Ryan Doumit couldn’t handle Neil Walker’s high throw to the plate on Drew Stubbs’ chopper, allowing Joey Votto to score. The rest is history.

This is a tough loss to swallow, especially with the Pirates having hit the ball so well. But even still they couldn’t get the one big hit when it mattered most. On three separate occasions they had the bases loaded — they came away with a total of two runs.

I am tempted to yell and scream about Jerry Lane’s blown call at first in the top of the 8th, as it led to a run for the Reds. But the truth is they had ample opportunity to put up enough runs to make that a non-issue and they just didn’t do it. Nobody to blame for this one but themselves.

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  1. August 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

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