> The only way the Pirates were going to make the postseason this year was if they could get over their mental issues against the Brewers and Padres, two non-contending teams they’ve struggled against in the past. It looked for awhile like the Pirates were on the road to the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, but, even though they were (and still are) contending, they couldn’t pull the trigger against those two non-contenders.
That trend continued today in a thrilling Brewers win over the Pirates, 3-2. The Pirates put in Joel Hanrahan in a 2-2 game in the ninth, and the first batter he faced was Corey Hart. But Hart quickly disposed of him, hitting a walk-off home run on the second pitch of the inning.
A.J. Burnett held the Brewers hitless through the first five innings, but they broke through against him and took the lead in the seventh on Carlos Gomez’s RBI double (Gomez’s mad run around the bases was what manufactured the first run). Jim Henderson, on in relief of a stellar Marco Estrada, got screwed in the eighth inning on an Andrew McCutchen jam-shot RBI single, crediting him with a blown save he didn’t deserve.
But John Axford, despite being as wild as usual, put up a scoreless ninth, setting the stage for Hart’s blast.
> I’m going to be very disappointed if Aramis Ramirez doesn’t win the Gold Glove for National League third basemen this year. He had another highlight reel play tonight, and has the fewest errors among NL third basemen. He wasn’t a defensive specialist early in his career (particularly with the Pirates), and I think people still underrate him because of that. He wasn’t too bad defensively his last few years with the Cubs, and is doing something special for the Brewers this year.
Some are going as far to say that Ramirez should also take home the third base Silver Slugger. While he’s been having an unbelievable offensive year since his slow April start, I don’t know if it’s enough for him to win it. The NL is very strong in the third base department: David Freese, Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Zimmerman, Chipper Jones, David Wright, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Chase Headley… I could go on.
But I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him take both.
> Mark Rogers said he disagreed with the idea of being shut down. At least someone is sane about the subject.
> Mat Gamel started hitting off a tee today.
> Eric Farris was recalled to take Cody Ransom’s spot on the roster. Spots on the roster don’t really matter now that it’s September, but this move was actually made yesterday, so they needed someone to fill in the roster spot for the day.
> Estrada went seven innings while giving up just one run on four hits. He also had 10 strikeouts and one walk. He’s had bad luck with the win total this year, but he’s likely to have a rotation spot next year, where he could thrive when given the full-time job.
> The Brewers are four games under .500 and 7.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. I don’t know; just felt like throwing that out there.
> Tomorrow’s match-up:
James McDonald (12-6, 3.57 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.52 ERA)
After the starts each got off to, I don’t think anyone expected Gallardo to have better numbers than McDonald at this point of the season. But Yo owns the Pirates, so we should be in for a nice sweep tomorrow.
> Shaun Marcum’s calf injury is worse than I thought. Although I have to wonder what it feels like when your own calf goes camping without you.
> This year’s dose of streaking took place in Seattle last night. Deadspin has the story.