Another solid game from the Pirates as they move to 3-1 on the season after finishing off the Cardinals in what might be the most anticipated game of the first four. Sure, opening day was pretty interesting and such but this was Chuck Morton’s first start of the season. I have been a Chuck Morton fan for some time and really defended him last year and thought he could be a real difference maker for this rotation. Over the offseason he has worked hard and had some expectations put on him after a really solid Spring.
You want to know how anticipated this was? About 45 minutes before the game some of us started an #electricstuff hash tag and it got trending in Pittsburgh before the game even started. Needless to say a lot of people were pretty excited about his start.
It was a pretty good outing for Chuck. He went six innings, gave up only one run and yielding only three hits. The only thing that I really had a problem with was that he walked five Cardinals. Walking almost a guy an inning isn’t going to cut it, but it was his first start and he was pretty ridiculous getting 14 ground ball outs. His sinker was good and he was pitching inside with some consistancy. His sinker was working and he was throwing a lot of strikes. He threw 97 total pitches and 57 of those were for strikes. I can handle that line. His pitches were moving a ton and he had a lot of the Cardinals fooled.
The Pirates offense was largely quiet for the first half of the game, but they came to life in the sixth inning when they scored all four of their runs. The top of the lineup has been just on fire all year and they were responsible for three of the runs. Neil Walker doubled home Ronny Cedeno and Jose Tabata to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead and then Andrew McCutchen drove home Walker with his second home run of the year a batter later.
I talked about it after the win on Sunday (via Twitter) but what is really nice about this team is that it isn’t just one player making the plays. Every game it is someone different that is making a big play to help this team win and it is refreshing to see that. The top of the lineup has been great so far and has really been on a tear, and for those young kids to be playing well really bodes well early on for this season.
I think this sounds kind of funny to say, but the Pirates only struck out seven times tonight, which is a huge improvement from the games against the Cubs. They had averaged over 10 strikeouts a game in that series. Small steps I guess.
What might get overlooked is the managing Clint Hurdle did tonight, especially in the eighth inning. With a three run lead Evan Meek came in the set up role and couldn’t get an out. Clint came on and immediately went to Mike Crotta. Crotta, who pitched his first ever game against the Cubs, came in and got two outs and would have probably got three if Ronny Cedeno could field a routine ground ball. After Crotta got the second out he went to the pen again and brought out Hanrahan. Four out save, not a problem. The Pirates have three wins this year and Hanrahan has shut the door in all three. You pay Joel to come in and close games in tough spots. It was refreshing to see that Clint decided to go for the four out save because he knew the Pirates earned this win.
Ronny Cedeno needs to pull his head out of his ass. Nothing more needs to be said about that.
All in all I can’t complain. A win is a win. Last season the Pirates had 17 road wins. Total, all season. This year they have won three of their first four on the road. As long as this team has their starters give the team a chance to win the offense is going to score some runs and we are going to have some fun baseball to watch this year.
Not sure how many of you followed me last year for Pirates season but post game thoughts aren’t always going to come. I don’t get to personally see every game and since I serve a vast amount of sports I don’t always get to do post game stuff. I will try and do a little better job to get stuff up post game, but no promises.
The great thing about baseball is that there is another game tomorrow. JMac is on the mound. Going to be really fun to watch.
ESPN has no idea what is going on with the game though: