Each time, before Trevor Cahill takes the mound, Pirates Fans hold their collective breaths, wondering what version of the veteran acquisition they are going to get. Thus far in the season he has either gotten bum-rushed from his first pitch; made to wear one because the bullpen would be taxed for seven or eight innings of work, or looked nearly untouchable, as he lulls the opposing batters to sleep with his overarching curve that starts at the eyes and slowly drops until it lands firmly in the zone.
Yesterday in Minneapolis, the later was the norm for Cahill; although it did not result in as many strikeouts as it had during his previous positive outing. However, what it did produce was a lot of soft contact and easily dealt with ground ball outs; eleven to be exact. This efficient outing caused many, who wished him DFA’d just a week ago, to once again ponder the trade value of such a pitcher on the open market because this has to be the real Trevor Cahill, and not the pitcher who gave up 13 earned runs on 17 hits in 8 innings during his two previous poor performances. But in all honesty, both this version and the one that allowed 1 earned run on two hits against the Twins in 6 innings or 1 earned run on 3 hits with 8 strikeouts when facing the Padres, are the exact same Trevor Cahill. Some days he is going to look like one of the best pitchers in the rotation, and the next he may look like a man that has never taken the mound before. It’s just who he is, and I am almost positive players don’t often reinvent themselves 13 years into their Major League careers.
Luckily for the Pirates and their fans, the efficient righty showed up on this chilly Saturday afternoon, and opposite of the previous night, when they were one hit, so did some of the bats; most surprisingly backup catcher Micheal Perez with his 3 for 3 day, which included a no doubt 408 foot homer and 3 RBIs. Not to be completely outdone Kevin Newman immediately followed up Perez’s blast with one of his own; his first on the season.
Following the offense output from some of the least unexpected places, the Pirates bullpen did what has become almost common place for them. The trio of Duane Underwood Jr., Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez struck out 5, walked none and didn’t allow an earned run in 3 innings of work; with the last two only throwing 13 pitches to get the final 6 outs of the contest.
With only 3 hits on the day and an early inning error, which jumpstarted the Pirates offense, the Twins ultimately fell to your Buccos 6-2 on the day and allowed Pittsburgh to come within one game of .500 yet again at 10-11.
News and Notes:
- After beginning the season on an absolute tear, slashing .326/.420/.581 over the first 12 games Phillip Evans is 3 for 26 with 9 strikeouts over the last 7. Add in a total whiff and boot in the field in the 8th, and one has to wonder how long Shelton will just keep trotting him out there.
- Colin Moran has also been struggling as of late; hitting .171 over the last week and striking out 3 times in J.A. Happ’s no hit bid on Friday night.
- Kevin Newman got a much needed boost with a solo shot and a sac fly. Fingers crossed this is exactly what was needed to get things going after a disappointing start to the season.
- The Pirates currently have a top 10 bullpen on the season, with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP; led by Crick and Rodriguez, who have yet to give up an earned run this year.
- In the early going the NL Central is exactly as expected as 1st (Milwaukee) and last (Cincinnati) are only separated by 3 games, with only the Brew Crew over .500.
Later today the Pirates will try to take their third series in a row as Wil Crowe (0-0, 13.50) gets the call in his first start of the season against Matt Shoemaker (1-1, 6.28 ERA) for the Twins at 2:10 PM EST at Target Field in Minnesota.