The Pirates got three solid starts from their pitchers and wasted two of them. Burnett was hit hard in the 1st inning of his game but that was basically it. He gave up 3 hits including the 2-run blast from Anthony Rizzo in the first fram, but in the next 5 innings only gave up 1 run, 3 hits and 1 walk. Burnett also struck out ten in his opening day debut.
Wandy was terrific in his first start. He pitched 6.2 innings allowing just 2 hits and issued 3 free passes. Wandy and the rest of the Pirates’ pitching staff blanked the Cubs, Grilli had his first save of the season, and the Pirates got the win.
Today, James McDonald displayed the type of starts he’s capable of. He went 7 innings, giving up only 2 hits, 2 walks, and allowing a single run. JMac fanned 4 in the process but the Pirates could never help him out and get him off the hook. The fine pitching continued when Mark Melancon came in to pitch a perfect 8th. However, Jared Hughes gave up a 2-out, 2-run homerun to Nate Schierholtz to make it 3-0.
Overall, the Pirates pitching staff was terrific in their opening series. They gave up just 6 runs on 11 hits. They also held Chicago to a .114 BA. For a 3 game series that’s usually good enough for at least taking the series, but not for the atrocious Pittsburgh Pirates. They fell to the Cubs 2 out of 3 times, despite Marmol’s best attempts at blowing the saves.
Here’s how today’s game went:
In the 3rd and final game of the series, the Pirates were down 1-0 in the 7th when McCutchen lead off with a base-reaching error. He then proceeded to swipe second in an attempt to get into scoring position. A Gaby Sanchez strikeout, a Pedro Alvarez infield fly, and Neil Walker getting caught looking squandered McCutchen’s heroic attempt. By the way, Cutch also stole third in the process. With a man on second and no outs, how does a team manage to not get the ball pass the pitchers mound? O wait, it’s the Bucs…and it gets worse.
As mentioned before, the Cubs increased their lead to 3 after a 9th inning jack coming off the bat of right fielder Nate Schierholtz. For some unexplainable reason, Sveum decided to put Marmol back out there for a save opportunity. Marmol rewarded his trust with a giving up 3 hits and a walk while producing zero outs. With men on first and third and nobody out Pittsburgh did what every fan knew they would do, they blew it. Alvarez had one of his custom K’s in a clutch scenario and Neil Walker grounded into a game ending double play.
The Pirates had no right to win this game and no right to take the series. They had 1 hit until the 9th inning and were held to 4 on the day. For the series, the Pirates had 12 hits, 19 total base runners, 5 runs, and a pathetic .118 batting average. That is not getting the job done. It’s horrible to see the Pirates not picking up and supporting their pitchers. Having the toughest schedule in the MLB to start the season the Pirates desperately needed to win the series against the hapless Cubs but because of an anemic offense was not able to. Hopefully, the bats will heat up when they go out west for the next 2 series. Pittsburgh plays the first of a three game set against tomorrow against Zach Greinke and the LA Dodgers.