Game one in St. Louis lived up to the billing and boy did we have to wait for it. After two separate rain delays, it turned out to be the pitchers duel that everyone had hoped for. Cardinals ace, Adam Wainwright allowed no runs on seven hits over seven innings, he also struck out five and walked three. The default ace of the Pirates, Charlie Morton, looked as sharp as he has looked all sesaon allowing no runs on just one hit over seven innings pitched, he struck out 5 and surrendered two walks. Two terrific stat lines, and both of them earned no decisions Monday night.
Ultimately the Cardinals ended up defeating the pirates in walk-off fashion with a two-run home run by Matt Adams in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Pirates had many chances to win the game, leaving 11 runners on base and stranding with a whopping eight of those in scoring position.
The future of the series produces some pitching mismatches in favor of the Pirates. Game two on Tuesday will pit Carlos Martinez of the Cardianls against Vance Worley of the Pirates. Martinez is 2-3 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts this season. Not a lot of numbers to evaluate there at just 22 years-old. Worley is in a similar situation after being called from AAA Indianapolis in mid-June. He is 2-1 with a 2.28 in fours starts this season, and would have to get the upper hand in Tuesday’s matchup.
The Pirates will face Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller in games three and four respectively. As for who will go for the Pirates remains to be seen as the status of Gerrit Cole is unknown. Expect it to see Edinson Volquez in game four and then either Cole or a spot start from Brandon Cumpton who is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday for Indianapolis.
Liriano’s rehab start
Francisco Liriano took the mound at Victory Field in Indianapolis for a rehab start with the Pirates AAA affiliate Indianapolis Indians. Liriano pitched six scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking none. He looked impressive (best numbers so far this season AAA and MLB). Despite that terrific start it is unlikely that he will make a start with te big league club until after the all star break. Given how dominant the starting pitching has been lately there is no reason to rush him back.
As for who will be the odd man out when he returns? That is hard to say. The best baseball decision is to send Jeff Locke back to AAA because he is the only currently big league starter who still has options to go back to AAA. Obviously, Locke has proven that he has regained his composure but unfortunately there is no room for him.