Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates Squander Chances

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates Squander Chances

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - Does it matter if Joe Musgrove stayed in the game when the Pirates' offense can't score with the bases loaded and nobody out?

Manager Clint Hurdle alluded to the issue before the game when asked about generating more runs. "We have continued to be challenged in bases-loaded situations," he said, and challenged is putting it mildly: The Pirates entered the game 0 for 13 with the bases full. After they recorded three consecutive outs and failed to score in the eighth inning of Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, make that 0 for 16.

Musgrove had gone toe to toe with Clayton Kershaw for six innings and the Pirates held a 1-0 lead, but Musgrove allowed three runs in the seventh. In the eighth, Dodgers reliever Caleb Ferguson loaded the bases with two walks and a single and his night promptly ended.

In came Pedro Baez. On average, teams that load the bases with nobody out score between 2.2 and 2.3 runs. Melky Cabrera flied out. Jung Ho Kang popped out (on the infield fly rule). After Josh Bell swung through a high fastball to end the inning, he slammed his bat.

The Pirates lost their seventh in a row. They scored 12 runs in those games. Even after the fateful seventh inning, Musgrove emerged with a good start: three runs in 6? innings.

Of course Musgrove should have had a chance to finish the seventh inning. Right? The three hits he allowed in the inning were a grounder that hit the umpire, a bouncer through the hole and a grounder to short that might had been an out had Josh Bell held onto the throw. Besides, he had just frozen Kike Hernandez on a full-count slider. He still had it.

But his pitch count was in the mid-90s. Hurdle should have taken him out with runners on the corners and nobody out. Right? The Pirates have an eight-man bullpen now, and a one-run lead to protect. Gotta get him out of there. …

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