Seven inning games are super weird. I mean you’re sitting here watching the Pirates starter in the bottom of the 5th protecting a slim one run lead and it’s not like you’d ever want him to give up the tying run but it’s also pretty easy to forget it would be like surrendering the lead in the 7th.
I understood things like this last season, I guess I can generously accept it this year as an aftershock, but man I really hate this. It changes the dynamic entirely of the context within each situation throughout the contest, and I’m just not here for it.
Regardless, Anderson was really the story today giving the Pirates 5 innings of 2 run ball and honestly it felt more dominant that that sounds. Notching 7 strikeouts and keeping an admittedly light hitting, especially against lefties, Tigers lineup completely off balance all day. The way he messes with hitter’s timing caused 17 whiffs on his 91 MPH fastball today. That’s just insane, and there were head shakes beyond that. He’s deceptive, and honestly he’s fun to watch.
Frazier, Evans, Reynolds and Moran have been leading the charge and that continued in this game, but don’t sleep on Erik Gonzalez, he’s had some moments lately and if clutch is a thing, how about this?
He’s done well defensively, just as you’d expect, his performance probably doesn’t matter too much to the overall picture, but what people saw in him is starting to emerge. He’ll lose some playing time when Hayes returns I’d imagine but when the club inevitably decides to work with Newman, I won’t lose sleep knowing Gonzalez is here.
In the 6th (really the 8th guys, man did I say I hate this?) the Bucs called on Kyle Crick to be the bridge to Rodriguez. He would deliver his seventh consecutive scoreless outing in impressive fashion. Look, you guys who read my stuff often know I’ve been tough on Kyle, but he’s got it working. Never be afraid in life to admit you were wrong, he’s simply been dominant.
Rich Rod came in for the 7th, I’m done complaining, 9th, whatever you want to call it and as has become quite the norm, ho hum another zero and save.
How good has he been this year?
On to Game 2! And I’ll have that game coverage as well, at 6:40.
Who will be the starter, AKA 27th man? We’ll soon find out but my money is on Yajure.
News & Notes
- Prior to the game Anthony Alford was designated for assignment. This means he’ll be placed on waivers should nobody offer to trade for him in the next few days and if he gets through that he’ll be assigned to the training site or AAA. And no, if you can keep him in the fold, it isn’t a good idea to just all together cut him loose. Every waiver exposure chips into the depth.
- The Pirates picked up another Rule 5 pick this time in the form of Ka’ai Tom off waivers from Oakland. Funny thing here is he had to be offered back to Cleveland first and they passed. More on him from Craig after we do our due diligence. I hope he’s good because I desperately want to call a player the Fyin’ Hawaiian.
- Rodolfo Castro was called up to replace Alford on the roster but it might be short lived as two players will need to be removed when Hayes returns and Tom arrives. Top candidates are Fowler which would make the most sense, Difo or as I mentioned, Castro. Difo would require waivers, Castro just an option.
- Tyler Anderson is starting to look less and less like a fluke. He doesn’t mess around with hitters instead just attacking the zone painting the bottom edge repeatedly. He uses that hesitation move in his delivery to mess with timing all game long. Even during at bats, you’ll see him just eliminate the stutter start and go to a slide step just to mess with them further. Sure he gets hit, but he’s just crafty to a really impressive level. Most guys can’t do this stuff without sacrificing control.
- Brian Reynolds, Adam Frazier and Colin Moran continue to power the offense. It’s a 3-4 punch that honestly we were a bit to tentative to fully predict. If they’re still hitting like this when Hayes returns we could be in for some really fun Summer days.
- You have to hear the clock ticking in Dustin Fowler’s ear like Captain Hook’s Crocodile. After watching Anthony Alford catch a DFA just before the game he was inserted as the starter just as news broke the Pirates picked up yet another castaway outfield option. He responded by striking out in all three plate appearances he had today, and not one looked competitive.
- The longer Frazier continues to collect hits and force action in the lineup, coupled with the continued struggles to develop anyone in the middle infield despite the glut of high picks and prospect rankings, the harder he gets to extend. Make no mistake, he’s in a decision year, he’s either extended or moved by this deadline, there can be no grey area here really or the plan simply isn’t being followed.