May 8: Cardinals (19-11) @ Pirates (13-16)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Today may be cold, but last night was ugly. And no one in the Pirates’ clubhouse will dispute that. It had nothing to do with weather, either, but everything to do with a lack of executing the fundamentals.

As I tried to lay out in last night’s game story, four errors/mistakes/foibles led to all four of St. Louis’ runs and subtracted likely at least two from the Pirates’ end. So instead of having the Pirates take a game from Chris Carpenter and extend a winning streak to four games, you have… well… you saw what happened.

Manager John Russell addressed some of this earlier this afternoon in his daily meeting with the media:

“You try to realize and learn from what happened, but also there were a lot of very good things that happened,” he said. “We came up with some very big hits late. We stayed with the game even though we made mistakes. The mistakes that have been made have already been addressed.

“I think the guys are anxious to get back on the field. We need to get back on the field after last night because it was kind of frustrating. You can’t make those mistakes.”

OTHER NEWS AND NOTES:

  • As the lineup shows, the Pirates are going right-handed heavy today against the left-handed Jaime Garcia. For those of you who aren’t that familiar with Garcia, you should be. He has been one of the NL’s best this season. Garcia comes into Saturday’s game 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA. He has pitched at least six innings in each of his five starts and has allowed a grand total of four earned runs. Right-handed hitters have batted .186 against him. Left-handed batters have hit .136 against Garcia.
  • Second baseman Aki Iwamura is among the left-handed hitters sitting on Saturday. Russell was asked if that was partly to send a messgae to Iwamura for the mistake he made on Friday (missing the critical tag), and Russell said it was more of a pitcher-hitter matchup thing (see above). Still, Russell added: “We’ve talked.”
  • The Pirates don’t have to worry about Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday on Saturday. Holliday is sitting as a precautionary measure (groin) because of cold, slick conditions. I’d imagine he’d be available to pinch hit if necessary.
  • Anyone wishing to make a comparison, the Pirates were 12-17 after 29 games last year. Not sure if that is at all important, but I thought I’d throw it out there.
  • Andrew McCutchen ranks first in the Majors with a .462 batting average in the first inning this season. He’s a .325 first-inning hitter in his career.
  • The Pirates’ 5.98 ERA still ranks last in the National League, but the discrepancy is quickly closing. Just two weeks ago, that ERA was over eight and two runs higher than the next worst. The turnaround has started with much better starting pitching as of late. In these last four homes games, the starters have a 1.42 ERA and not a single loss.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Bobby Crosby (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Steve Pearce (1B)
  7. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Jeff Karstens (RHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Skip Schumaker (2B)
  2. Ryan Ludwick (RF)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. Colby Rasmus (CF)
  5. David Freese (3B)
  6. Yadier Molina (C)
  7. Jon Jay (LF)
  8. Jaime Garcia (LHP)
  9. Brendan Ryan (SS)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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