Will Pirates Protect Andrew McCutchen All Season?
By Tom Smith
Mar 16, 2014; Clearwater, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) laughs in the dugout between innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in a spring training exhibition at Bright House Field. McCutchen went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
A familiar situation happened in todays Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. The best player in the National League, Andrew McCutchen was buzzed with a baseball. The culprit this time wasn’t named Ardolis Chapman, but Phils reliever Jonathan Papelbon. The situation? Throwing a baseball near the Bucs best baseball player.
You might remember this glare when Chapman beaned Cutch. The glare was out again today in Clearwater.
McCutchen never went down
The Pirates reaction in the past has been to simply win the game, very little retaliation has occurred outside of that awesome effort by Charlie Morton against the Reds last year. The fact that #ElectricStuff immediately answered the situation last season pleased us. To see it again today, even in a Grapefruit League game, was even more pleasing. The team must protect their leader, that’s the bottom line.
It all went down in the fifth inning after teams traded bean balls earlier in the game. Papelbon got two quick outs and then beaned Starling Marte. The Pittsburgh kid, Neil Walker ripped a single on the right handers first pitch.
Papelbon fired a fastball up and in on the NL MVP and McCutchen’s reaction was apparently not a good one. The Cutch death stare ensued before he ripped a single past the Phillies shortstop.
The Pirates evened the score in the bottom of the inning when Bryan Morris took care of the situation. For poor Cody Asche, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and was plunked by the big Bucco reliever.
Both benches were warned. Who said Grapefruit League games can’t be exciting? And speaking of exciting Neil Walker murdered a baseball from the right side against Phillies left-hander Antonio Bastardo. Josh Harrison was the next batter and was beaned. Message? Nah, just a non-breaking breaking ball.
Plunk City: Buccos have been beaned 14 times while in the batters box over 18 Grapefruit League games. Pirates hurlers have hit 15 opponents. The Pirates love pitching inside now and the hitters aren’t afraid to lean into a pitch. It’s nothing new and we are all but guaranteed to see more of it in 2014 as the Pirates offensive thrived under the approach in 2013.
The Pirates got three shutout innings from starter Adam Wilk. The lefty was making his first start of the spring.
Also, the video of Walker crushing the bomb is here. Oh my God is this gone.