Prior to the Pirates games against the Cubs this Mother’s Day afternoon, Pittsburgh and General Manager Ben Cherington made a number of roster moves; some expected, while others may have caught Pirates Fans a little off guard.
During the bottom of the first inning of Saturday’s contest, Colin Moran was removed from the game after stretching awkwardly to double up Wilson Contreras on a Jason Hayward line out; so it was not surprising that he was moved to the 10-IL with a left groin strain. At the same time Ke’Bryan Hayes was transferred to the 60 Day-IL, with the corresponding move of Troy Stokes Jr. having his contract selected from the AAA-Indianapolis Indians.
Then came the somewhat unexpected DFA of Michael Feliz, not due to it actually happening, but more because of the timing. Just a couple of days before, Feliz had pitched two innings of scoreless baseball in the series opener versus the Cubs. It was announced shortly after that this move as being made to acquire recently DFA’d outfielder Ben Gamel, who had only one hit in 14 at bats for the Cleveland Indians to start the year. For the moment reliever Goeff Hartlieb will join the club to hold Gamel’s roster spot.
Oh, and I didn’t even get to mention that Bryan Reynold’s is day to day with lower body soreness; to go along with Gregory Polanco’s IL stint for violating COVID protocols, which ultimately led to the outfield of Ka’ai Tom, Wilmer Difo and Troy Stokes Jr. in his Major League Debut.
Luckily for the Pirates the were able to get the less than effective Kyle Hendricks early and often. Throw in another outstanding performance from lefty Tyler Anderson, and the Pirates were cruising to an easy win over the Cubs. That was until Anderson exited the game following the eighth inning.
Enter the tandem of Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez. Up until this point the had been unstoppable; allowing a single run and only a pair of hits in a combined 23.1 innings, with 6 walks (5 for Crick) and 20 strikeouts.
Crick began his day with a hit batsman, a wild pitch and a walk before getting a fly out; ending his day shortly after it started. Rodriguez would come in and immediately get a strike out, making us think all was right with the world again. Wrong.
RichRod would go on to give up a single and a double that brought the Cubs within one run. Fortunately he was able to get Javy Baez to ground out to Adam Frazier to seal a 6 to 5 Pirates victory, that was in question for a couple of moments.
News and Notes:
- Tyler Anderson’s final line was 2 earned runs on 4 hits, with 6 strike outs and one walk. For the season Anderson is sporting a 3.05 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and is allowing only a .209 AVG to opposing batters.
- Kevin Newman is back up over the Mendoza line after a 2 for 5 day, but the real surprise is his team leading 4 OAA at shortstop.
- Wilmer Difo led the way with three hits, including a triple, and three RBIs. He is no’s hitting .273 on the season, in a very small sample size.
- Ka’ai Tom has .227 since joining the Pirates, to go along with a .424 OBP, by having 8 walks compared to 5 strikeouts. The guy just plain patient at the plate.
- Adam Frazier extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
The Pirates are now 14-19 on the year, as the return home to PNC Park for 7 games in 7 days. Tomorrow they look to get revenge on the Reds for the 3 game sweep in the second series of the season; during which they were out scored 30 to 8.
For Pittsburgh Mitch Keller (2-2, 6.29 ERA) will try for his second strong start in a row, against Jeff Hoffman (2-2, 4.39 ERA) for Cincinnati.