The Pittsburgh Pirates destroyed the Tampa Bay Rays 10-5 in Grapefruit League action. Prior to the game, the buzz was around the excellent, league leading pitching the Rays had been getting thus far in the spring. The Rays had allowed five runs this year. The Pirates put that up in the first inning.
With Clint Hurdle back at Pirate City, Jeff Banister served as the skipper and it’s easy to tell the guys loving playing for him. Especially the Buccos catchers who murdered baseballs.
We listened to the game on XM and the best part of the game was the Rays announcer saying this linein the first inning before an out was even recorded:
The Rays Matt Moore not showing a lot of movement on his pitches until after the ball hits
The Bucs chased Moore before he could record three outs. The Rays defense was shaky throughout the game, but especially in the first inning. The Pirates took advantage putting up six runs.
Offensive stars were Russell Martin who hit his two while driving in two. Josh Harrison also continued his strong spring at the plate with two more hits. The Pirates made Vance Worley throw 47 pitches on Friday, the Bucs worked the Rays starter for six runs, four of them earned. The Bucs bats collected five hits and made Moore throw 41 pitches.
The Bucs wanted Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker to get some quality at-bats against a big time lefty. It didn’t happen because the Bucs offense is just dialed in this spring. It all started under sunny skies at Port Charlotte when Starling Marte leaned into a pitch to lead off the game. The Rays announcers were convinced the offering from Moore would have been a strike. Nonetheless, the key to the Pirates season will surround the ability of Marte to continue to get on base and remain healthy while doing so.
Francisco Liriano went three innings, obviously still working on his fastball command. Frankie gave up a run on four hits, walked one and struck out four.
Darkhorse sleeper: Southpaw Adam Wilk fired more goose eggs yesterday against Tampa. The lefty-hander has pitched six shoutout innings giving up just three hits. If he keeps this up, someone might take his picture in a Pirates uni.