For a lot of years there wasn't much reason to watch the Pirates. I mean you could love baseball and love to watch your hometown team but there was really no reason to WATCH the Pirates. They were going to be bad. You knew it, I knew it, and the guys on the team probably knew it too. Things have changed over the past couple of years and this is a really, really fun team to watch. Last night was just another one of those cases. Throughout the Cubs series it seemed as if the offense was going to be put on an Amber Alert but baseball is a funny game. After getting only 20 hits and six runs through three games and 35 innings against the Cubs the Pirates busted out for 12 runs and 16 hits in nine innings on Friday night against the Cardinals. Baseball is a funny game.
This game looks like a blowout, and it was, but things weren't always that definite. Matt Carpenter hit a two run home run in the fifth inning and the Pirates led only 3-2 and while Gerrit Cole was good early he struggled a little in the fourth and fifth inning the Pirates were only able to muster three solo home runs. Now solo home runs aren't bad but when you hit three home runs and you only have three runs it leaves you feeling like you should have a bit more runs.
If there was any doubt in the game it was put to rest starting in the sixth inning. The Pirates scored three in the sixth, one in the seventh and then five more in the eighth to really run away with the game and make it a laugher.
Pedro Alvarez was really good last night. He hit two massive home runs, one to left field and then another that still hasn't landed yet to right center. These were grown man home runs and as soon as he swung the bat you knew it was gone. That is what he is going to give you. He might strike out a bit much for everyone but man oh man can he make up for some of that with his power. Both home runs were over 400 feet and his second of the night went 434 feet. Wow. Here is the video of it:
Oh yea, along with the two home runs Alvarez stole a base (!!!) and scored on a really outstanding slide. Look at Pedro using his legs.
Cole was pretty good, all told. He breezed through the Cardinals lineup the first time through and then had some trouble in the middle innings. His secondary pitches were a little off and he just wasn't there. Then, a switch flipped and things got really good in the sixth inning and he even go through the seventh, throwing 108 pitches, giving up six hits, walking two, and striking out three. He was able to keep his velocity throughout his start as he was still getting into the upper 90's in the sixth and seventh innings and hit triple digits. This dude is a horse and while he definitely didn't have his best stuff he held a good Cardinals offense to only six hits and two runs through seven innings. I think mod would take that.
What maybe might get lost in the shuffle is how good the play Russell Martin made on a Peter Bourjos bunt for base hit attempt right before the Carpenter home run. I was out with some friends watching the game and as everyone was talking about something I happened to look up and just said wow when the play was over. This kinda stuff doesn't talked about but it was a really outstanding play. There isn't even video of the play on MLB.com but there should be.
The Pirates also tripled two times. Starling Marte was the first to hit the three-bagger and then Andrew McCutchen hit a triple in the eighth inning. Watching those to leg out a triple is one of the most fun things to watch in sports. Also I have no idea what Allen Craig was doing in right field on the McCutchen triple. Hopefully his teammates found him a map he can use for the rest of the series.
Just as I said in the recaps of the Cubs games I am not really going to take a lot from the offense being down those three games and in the same sense I am not going to take too much out of this. We are still super early in the season and while it would be nice to get 16 hits a night that is pretty unrealistic. That doesn't mean last night wasn't fun, because it was.