Brad Lincoln put together his best start of his young major league career and blanked the Cubs through seven innings and GFJ doubled home a run in the eighth inning to give the Pirates the series win over the Cubs. The Pirates now have taken nine games against the Cubs this year and have only lost three times.
It wasn't easy for the Pirates as they once again had a pretty tough time hitting hte ball. Only seven hits and only Andrew McCutchen has more than one hit. The real story of the game was Lincoln. He typcially is a slow starter when he is moved into a new enviorment and usually needs to get comfortable in his new surroundings. That is exactly what happened today. Lincoln looked a lot more comfortable out there on the mound and he did one thing that he really wasn't able to do in his first handful of starts: avoid the big walk.
Lincoln only walked one batter, struck out six and threw 57 of his 93 pitches for strikes lowering his ERA from 6.00 to 4.65. It was reassuring to see him turn it around and hit his spots. His curveball was pretty nasty as it usually is and I feel he is starting to get much more comfortable with his changeup. If he can get three pitching working then we should continue to see that success as he gets more confidence.
What was also impressive about today's Pirates game was Joel Hanrahan. He was just straight filthy today. It took him nine pitches to get through the eighth inning and didn't throw a fastball that was slower than 96. He also busted out an 86 MPH slider and just completely dominated the Cubs. Something tells me that Sean Burnett couldn't really come out and be as shut down as much as Hanrahan as been this year. Love it.
Pedro got another hit today and bumped up his average to .152 even though he struck out two more times. Just what the Pirates feared, situational left handed pitching, got Pedro the second time with two runners in scoring posistion. Like I keep saying, in the very limited at bats he has got does not give you a clear line of what he is going to be like. For all we know he could go off and have six multiple hit games in his next 10 and nobody would say anything. It takes time for hitters, especially for Alvarez given his history, so everyone can laugh now but please don't be stupid and say we should send him down.
It felt pretty good to score some runs after the OTHER team made a crushing error. After Jose Tabata grounded out to the pitcher the Pirates went to work. Andy LaRoche reached after Aramas Ramirez booted a ball and then the floodgates opened. Cutch lined a ball back up the middle and GFJ went shopping at the gap and drove home LaRoche. After an intentional walk to Ryan Doumit to load the bases, Alvarez struck out and Milledged earned a bases loaded walk to push across the insurance run the Pirates needed.
Hanrahan and Dotel shut the door. That's right. The Jolly Roger was raised in Chicago, again.
Wish we could play the Cubs every day.