by Danny Mehigan
Why do I feel the need to rip on a little Cubs fan with dyed hair, you ask? Well, it’s not my fault. When you Google “it’s gonna happen”, you just deal with the results. This isn’t even about the Cubs and their adorable 100+ year title drought. Though anytime you bring that up is a good time, because it’s hilarious and pitiful at the same time. This is also not about my fantasy basketball team named It’ll Never Happen – though we did finish a strong third place in the ESPN S&A League. Nice job, fellas.
This is about the Pittsburgh Pirates and their epic failure in the attempt to beat the Milwaukee Brewers in a game of baseball. As many of you know, it’s been a very, very long time since the Pirates beat the Brewers. The last time: May 22, 2008. Almost a full calendar year. 17 games. The final 12 matchups last year and five already this year.
Some of the losses have been blowouts, some very close. But if Monday night taught us anything, the Pirates beating the Brewers may never happen.
Andrew Paschen gave the Pirates some advice for beating the streak, but those clowns evidently haven’t been up on their Midwest Swing game. There’s another life lesson, folks – if you don’t read this site, you will fail at your job. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.
The table was set for Pittsburgh to break the streak. Yovani Gallardo was pitching for the first time since throwing eight shutout innings last week and pitchers can rarely replicate a performance like that. Paul Maholm was throwing for Pittsburgh, and he wanted redemption for pitching poorly in Milwaukee last week. Ryan Braun wasn’t with the team – he was getting a MRI thanks to lingering back trouble. Bill Hall was playing left field in his stead for the first time in his career. It was at Pittsburgh – the Crew came into the week 25-43 all-time at PNC Park.
The breaks went against the Pirates immediately. In the first inning, Hall made a diving catch of a liner against the leadoff hitter – how about that for a left field debut? But he hurt himself making that catch, so he was removed one inning later. His replacement? Chris Duffy, a former Pirate. Just a few innings later, Duffy made a fantastic run-saving catch as he faceplanted into the wall. There’s no way Hall makes that catch, but that’s how the Brewers-Pirates games roll.
Fast forward to the 8th inning, it’s 3-1 Pirates and the bullpen has just entered the game. The bases are loaded with two outs and guess who strolls to the plate … Ryan Braun. Fresh off his MRI in Milwaukee, he jumped on a plane and got to the stadium halfway through the game. John Grabow gets two quick strikes on him and fools him on an outside changeup. Braun puts a weak swing on it and pops it into short right field. But of course – it drops in. Two runs score. Tie game. All 143 Pirate fans are devastated.
We move to the bottom of the 8th. Mark DiFelice gets two quick outs, then gives up a single and a long double off the wall that just glances off Corey Hart’s outstretched glove. A run scores. Pittsburgh leads 4-3. Order is restored. Matt Capps, the lockdown closer with no blown saves in 2009, comes into the game for the final inning. The streak is about to end.
Kendall, single. Counsell, single. Hart, walk. Hardy, sac fly. Tie game again. And the final blow, a 3-2 fastball right down the cock to Rickie Weeks. It gets blasted. The Pirates get bamboozled. 7-4, Brew Crew. Mark it down.
Watching that game, I couldn’t help but laugh. The Pirates are a decent team, but it doesn’t matter if you’re the worst team in the history of the game, major league teams don’t beat other major league teams 17 times in a row. From the dominating performance by Maholm, to the Braun double, to the Brewers giving the lead back, to Capps blowing it right back – just face it, it’ll never happen.
Oh, by the way, the Brewers beat the Pirates 8-5 on Tuesday night. Chalk another one up.