For the seventh time in eight days, the Braves scored two runs or fewer. That runs the streak to four straight losses, two of them in extras. But I can’t really blame this one on the offense. Here is how the Pirates’ first two runs scored.
Williams Perez took a really hard grounder off his ankle. He just lay on the ground for a while, unable to get up. Eventually, Jeff Porter was able to get him standing again, and he took a few practice pitches, told Fredi he felt fine, and they left him in the game. But he didn’t look right: as David Lee noted, he wasn’t finishing his pitches. (The injured leg was his plant foot, which explains why his motion was more constricted afterwards. On the radio, Don was saying that an injury to the plant leg might even be worse than the drive leg, because the plant leg is the one you come down on.)
I didn’t agree with the decision to keep him in the game; it seems to me that you just don’t want to take any chances. But he told them he felt okay, so I don’t totally blame Fredi for that. The very first pitch — low and outside with a different pitching motion than he’d had before the injury — should have made it obvious that he shouldn’t have stayed in. The next few minutes were torture. Each of the next three pitches was way outside and the man walked. Fredi still kept Perez in. The first pitch to McCutchen was way outside — nothing had been remotely close since the ankle injury. Then as Perez came set, he was called for a balk. The next pitch was incredibly high. The next pitch hit McCutchen square in the back. It wasn’t until then that Fredi took Perez out of the game.
So, Luis Avilan came in, and to make a long story short, both inherited runners scored. The sole piece of good news came after the game, when x-rays on his ankle were Williams Perezs-left- foot”>negative. But the team’s press release noted that he might still miss his next start.
The offense has been utterly wretched since Freddie Freeman went out. But Fredi made an incredibly risky decision to ignore an injury to our second-best starter, and we’ll be lucky if it only lost us one game.