A light drizzle, and a light crowd on hand to watch a chilly late May contest at PNC today, but the Pirates delivered perhaps their most complete performance to date in game 1.
This game had a little bit of a few themes we needed to see. First, timely hitting and effective at bats to further the cause. That’s not been a given this season but today it really consistently was on display.
We’ll get into that a bit more, but first we should focus on JT Brubaker, the second theme that needed to show up was getting a solid start from the rotation and man did JT deliver that and then some. Check out these numbers… 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 BB and 5 K.
He really only ran into trouble when he loaded the bases with 1 out for Charlie Blackmon, probably the only guy you don’t want to see on the Rockies. A pop up and a fly ball later he was out of the inning unscathed.
Foot down performance, opposition noted.
The bats supported his effort, in fact everyone in the lineup had a hit save Difo who walked twice.
Cole Tucker got the party started.
And after they played a little more small ball to get it to 3-0 Bryan Reynolds continued to show he’s found the power stroke with a two run shot that made it 5-0, Polanco would follow with a Triple off the top of the wall.
They kept chipping away and adding on eventually building up the 7-0 lead they carried into the 7th inning where they handed the ball to Chasen Shreve to try to close out the game.
Good game for the Buccos, all around, seriously.
Next game starts around 4 and I’ll have that one too.
Mitch Keller versus Austin Gomber
News & Notes
- The offense came to play today, and while Bryan Reynolds caps the highlight reel with his two run shot, I was more encouraged to see contact to move runners, and contact to score runs without even getting a hit. Those hits and homeruns are of course more exciting, and obviously needed sorely too, but the small ball aspects have to come to play every day. That’s how this team will score most of their runs.
- JT Brubaker was a force today, hitting spots all over and just off the strike zone. This was a nice bounce back from a rotation and player who really needed one. He’s done well in his rookie campaign, but good fades quickly when you start stacking poor outings. Stopping the bleeding for himself and the ballclub is important no matter where you are in the standings.
- Ben Gamel is quietly taking charge in Left Field. He’s swinging the bat well enough and playing a solid defensive game. OF carousel has been hard on the lineup and the fans in general, with the news on Swaggerty, I’d really like to see them let him stat out there and see how close they can come to feeling like he’s the starter. At least until he cools off. Tom being back today (should they choose to keep him) will have to mix in too. 1 for 2 with a walk and he moved runners over productively in his other plate appearances.
- No starter has been announced for tomorrow night, but Chad Kuhl is in Pittsburgh and he’s on the right rest. You do the math. Interesting to see who goes for him. Could be Mears, could also be Cahill. It’s plausible it’s Tucker too.
- Cole Tucker had a good approach at the plate today, came through with a big RBI single early on but more than that took some long at bats and took some swings that looked more like they were seeking damage than we’ve seen from him for most of his time. Probably not going to keep him up here, but good to see.
- Gregory Polanco had it going today, 2 for 3 with a sac fly in the 6th and made a really nice play and throw on a pop up in the 6th to keep it scoreless.
- Good to see Will Craig bounce back from “the Play”. Had a long double to right in this one and even had an opportunity to give the same play to the Rockies that he experienced last game. Everyone had a laugh over that. Nice moment.
- With this win, the Pirates have matched their win total for 2020 and they did it in ten less games. Hey, baby steps right? More importantly it snaps a 6 game losing streak.
- The Rockies have been shut out 9 times this season.