Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pirates Game 14 Recap - Reds 7, Pirates 5

The Pirates were able to come back and win the suspended game that started a few hours earlier than the regularly scheduled game but they weren't able to complete the somewhat sweep. The Reds handed Gerrit Cole his worst outing of his very young career and the offense wasn't able to get back into it after grabbing an early one run lead. So is life.

Cole went six innings and was tagged for five runs on nine hits and walked three while only striking out three. He has good stretches but whether it was the cold or still some early season figuring it out stuff he was hit around a good bit in his first outing against the Reds. I don't really think it was a control thing because he threw 62 of his 98 pitches for strikes and his velocity was still well in the upper 90's where it has been all season. I think he might have got squeezed on a few at bats and I am sure he isn't overly comfortable pitching in the low 30's but so far this year Cole has been a little up and down. He hasn't necessarily been bad but he hasn't been what we saw at the end of the last season. Maybe it is unrealistic expectations but it kinda sucks. He's still really good so I am not concerned.

I guess the one thing I am concerned about is the ability of opponents to steal bases almost at will against Cole. Today the Reds swiped three bases while Cole was out there and he gave Russell Martin about zero chance on any of them. Cole has a pretty high leg kick so that doesn't help his cause but at some point I think he is going to need to vary something to at least give his catcher a chance.

Really the difference in the game came when Cole gave up a monster two run home run to Mike Leake. Leake had doubled and scored earlier in the game against Cole and in the sixth inning with the Reds up one he went deep to left centerfield to give the Reds a three run lead. The Pirates cut that lead to two the next half inning but gave up a two RBI single Devin Mesoraco in the bottom of the seventh to really salt the game away. The Pirates probably would have been able survive the Mesoraco run scoring single if it weren't for the pitcher hitting a home run, but that's baseball.

The pen wasn't horribly good tonight. Justin Wilson relieved Cole and he only lasted 0.2 inning where he walked one and gave up two hits including the Mesoraco single. Then Jeanmar Gomez came in and finished the seventh and pitched the eighth but gave up four hits. While Gomez didn't allow a run he isn't looking quite as good as he did last year and that is pretty concerning since the pen as a whole, outside of Tony Watson and Bryan Morris, haven't looked all that good.

There were some good things that happened tonight though. Gaby Sanchez continues to be red hot as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a run driven in a night after hitting two home runs. Both of those games came against right handed pitching which is good to see as I am not really sure the Travis Ishikawa experiment is going to last all that much longer. I am not going to sit here and tell you that Sanchez is going to be able to play first base on an every day basis, because he's not. There is plenty of sample size to show that he isn't going to fare well against right handed pitching but right now he's seeing the ball well and killing it. When he is on these hot streaks you have to play him every day so hopefully that is what goes on until the well is dry from this streak.

Neil Walker has also been on fire. He went deep again tonight and this home run came while he was batting right handed. I know, I didn't think that was going to happen either. It was only the fifth time in his career he has homered from the right side of the plate and he now has five home runs on the season. So far this series he is 5-for-9 with three home runs. That is some hot hitting from Mr. Walker.

Someone who is not playing very well is Starling Marte. He's had brutally bad at bats recently and in this series he has six strikeouts already and has struck out multiple times in six of the last 10 games. The last two days have been especially bad. He honestly looks like he is making up his mind before the pitch even comes on if he is going to swing or not. He is watching juicy pitches go right down the rail and then seining at pitches six inches off the plate. This is the guy we have been accustomed to seeing but I think it wouldn't hurt him to get a day off tomorrow. He needs it.

Not terrible to split this so far with all the weird stuff going on. Winning tomorrow and taking the series would go a long way in my book.

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