Back in the day, when me and my friends had to crowd around the 19 inch TV in my bedroom to play video games, there was really only one rule-you couldn’t play against another person with a hometown team. This went for Tecmo Super Bowl, RBI Baseball 1 through 3 and eventually NHL 94 when I upgraded to the Sega Genesis. Having cousins who lived near Chicago, in Northwest Indiana-the only part of the country I was even relatively familiar with, outside of my bubble in Western Pennsylvania-I naturally gravitated toward their favorite teams; the Bears in football and the White Sox in baseball. The only sport I deviated from this pattern was with NHL 94, where I was always the Hartford Whalers, because honestly those jerseys were absolutely amazing.
As a 12 year old sports fanatic, especially of Major League Baseball, my screen was filled with the likes of Black Jack McDowell, Bobby Thigpen, Ron Karkovice, Joey Cora, Lance Johnson, Ozzie Gullien Sammy Sosa and my favorite non-Pirates player of the time, Robin Ventura. As far as teams went at the time, they weren’t the best, but they were far from the worst; but to me it didn’t matter since they were my chosen team. Soon this adoption started to go beyond just clicking on the White Sox when I turned on my Nintendo; I started actually following, and becoming a fan of the team. I had White Sox t-shirts, hats and even a couple of jerseys alongside those of the Pirates. I watched their games when they were actually on, and went to a few games with my cousins on regular summer visits. Believe it or not, I still cheer for them, whenever they are not playing the Pirates, just like I did when I was younger; and they are one team I know anywhere near as intimately as I know my favorite hometown team. This makes things a little bit interesting, and gives me a little bit of a strange feeling, each time the Pirates and White Sox meet because not only do I recognize the players across the diamond, I am used to cheering for them. This was no different last night when the boys from the Southside rolled into town for a quick two game set.
For Chicago, their young staff ace Lucas Giolito-who no-hit the Pirates in his last appearance against them back on August 25, 2020-took the mound against Pittsburgh’s crafty lefty, and rental trade piece. Tyler Anderson.
The Pirates would strike first as Adam Frazier challenged Giolito with a ten pitch at bat; ultimately ending in a solo homer that landed three rows back, above the Clemente Wall.
They would tack on another run, as Bryan Reynolds singled in Frazier, while Anderson was cruising through the White Sox lineup; spreading out three hits and striking out four. The top of the 7th seemed to be going almost as smoothly, until Yasmani Grandal stepped to the plate, in a pinch hit role with two on and two out, and took Anderson’s first offering over the centerfield wall.
Luckily for the Pirates Faithful, their Buccos were up for the challenge as the dinked, dunked and bunted their way to four runs in the bottom half of the inning; somewhat assisted by a Yoan Moncada throwing error.
The Pirates bullpen would then come in and go to work; ultimately shutting down Chicago over the next two innings by not allowing a hit, walking one and striking out four on the way to a 6-3 Pirates victory.
News and Notes
- David Bednar got his first Big League win last night, but probably not in the way he envisioned it; going only a third of inning and allowing a hit, while tossing only eight pitches.
- Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds continue to power the offense; going a combined 3 for 7 on the day, with 3 RBIs.
- I really wish Cherington would pull the trigger on a RichRod, and especially a Kyle Crick, trade sooner rather than later; not that he is in complete control of this. Rodriguez recorded his 9th save, has a 1.84 ERA, and a .72 WHIP. Crick, to his credit, has posted a 2.79 ERA and a .98 WHIP on the season. Both have stumbled at times recently, which make me worry if a downfall is coming, so it would be nice to have them off the books if and/or when this comes.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes isn’t necessarily “slumping” in the full blown sense, however he is batting .174 over his last 23 at bats, and only .246 over his last 57. I know this is a small sample size, but if you are going to use one to show that he is great, you have to be open to using the same criteria to show he is struggling.
- Adam Frazier is currently second in All-Star Voting at Second Base in the NL. Go Vote!
The Pirates and the Pale Hose will be back at in a few hours-12:35 PM EST-with yours truly in attendance for the first time since The Steve Blass Farewell Game. Chase De Jong (0-1, 4.26 ERA) gets the start for Pittsburgh, while Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.99 ERA) toes the rubber for Chicago.