– MLB – Box Score – Pirates at Braves

What the hell just happened? I think this is about the 15th one of those games the Braves have lost this year. The bullpen was the proximate cause of this collapse, but you can blame everyone except the starting pitcher. That pitcher was Oscar Villareal, and he was just dandy yet again, going five and allowing one run.

You all probably know that I don’t think much of the difference between “unearned” and “earned” runs. Occasionally, there’s an exception. For instance, if a player reaches on an awful error by the shortstop, you get a double play ball, but the second baseman can’t turn it, then the guy who reached on the “fielder’s choice” scores on a double, as happened in the sixth, you probably should get a break. However, in this case, because the run scored was the fielder’s choice guy, even though he would have been out later. Anyway, that made it 1-0, and the unearned run rule is stupid. Villareal went five and allowed four hits, no walks, one strikeouts, and was lifted for a pinch-hitter.

That pinch-hitter, for some reason, was L’il Tony Pena, who (unbelieveably) hit a homer to tie the game. But after loading the bases on walks with one out, McCann (who is having an awful series) hit a GIDP — with Orr, who could score on almost anything, at third. The Braves took the lead on an Andruw bloop single in the seventh, but McCann flew out with two on to end that threat.

Baez came in and had nothing. And Bobby let him make it 3-2 before lifting him, and brought in Ray, who hasn’t gotten anyone out since June, and it was 5-2 before Baez made it to the clubhouse. Prado (who, earlier in the game, had pinch-hit for Orr with nobody out and a runner on second and bunted if you can imagine such a thing, I would complain about Bobby bunting with a pinch-hitter for a position player but for all I know Prado bunted on his own) drove in a run that would have tied it if Ray could have held it to 3-2. The Braves went meekly in the ninth.

I could put Baez in the Doghouse, or McCann, or Renteria (who was awful in the field and at the plate) but am putting the man who most annoyed me there instead.