Pittsburgh Pirates series takeaways vs. Chicago White Sox


The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to sweep the Philadelphia Phillies out of town, despite only scoring six runs in the series. The series included two extra inning walk-offs for the boys in black and gold. The Pirate offense looked to rebound against the Chicago White Sox in a four-game, two-city inter-league series.

Game One: Francisco Liriano (3-5, 3.25 ERA) vs. Carlos Rodon (2-0, 2.66 ERA)

Result: Pirates win 11-0

Winning Pitcher: Francisco Liriano (4-5, 2.94 ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Carlos Rodon (2-1, 3.86 ERA)

  • What went right:
    • The offense blew up in a big, big way: 11 runs and 18 hits.
    • Francisco Liriano was filthy, going eight innings, allowing zero runs on two hits and striking out 12.
    • The top of the line-up was fantastic. Harrison, Marte, and McCutchen went a combined 10-13 with four RBIs and seven runs scored.
    • Rob Scahill pitched a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the shutout victory.
  • What went wrong:
    • Jose Tabata grounded into two double plays.
    • Tabata was also thrown out trying to steal second base in the first inning.
    • Josh Harrison had an error to lead off the ballgame.
    • It’s really hard to think of what went wrong when the team wins 11-0.

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Game Two: Charlie Morton (4-0, 2.05 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (3-6, 4.00 ERA)

Result: Pirates win 3-0

Winning Pitcher: Charlie Morton (5-0, 1.62 ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Quintana (3-7, 4.03 ERA)

Save: Mark Melancon (21, 1.99 ERA)

  • What went right:
    • Charlie Morton was vintage ground chuck again. After an almost-rough first inning, he settled down to throw seven innings, allowing no runs on four hits.
    • The top of the order was big again. Harrison, Marte, and McCutchen went a combined 5-11 with one RBI and one run scored.
    • Sean Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli both hit solo home runs to pad the lead.
    • Tony Watson and Mark Melancon were shutdown as usual in the eighth and ninth inning.
  • What went wrong:
    • Charlie Morton had a tough first inning, allowing a lead-off walk and throwing over 25 pitches.
    • Neil Walker struggled mightily batting from the right side of the plate, going 0-4 with two strikeouts.
    • Jordy Mercer went 0-4 and stranded seven men on base.
    • Josh Harrison was caught trying to steal second base in the fourth inning.

Game Three: Jeff Locke (3-3, 4.90 ERA) vs. John Danks (3-6, 5.16 ERA)

Result: Pirates win 3-2

Winning Pitcher: Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.74 ERA)

Losing Pitcher: John Danks (3-7, 5.16 ERA)

Save: Mark Melancon (22, 1.93 ERA)

  • What went right:
    • The Pirates had a 3-0 lead before Jeff Locke threw a single pitch. Josh Harrison doubled to start the game and Andrew McCutchen brought him home for the early lead.
    • Jung-Ho Kang hit an opposite field two-run home run to give the Pirates a 3-0 first inning lead.
    • Jeff Locke had one of his better starts of the season, going six innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out eight.
    • Bullpen continued to be a strength. Arquimedes Caminero, Watson, and Melancon shut the door on the game and the Pirates held on for the victory.
  • What went wrong:
    • Outside of the first inning, the offense was shut down by John Danks and the White Sox bullpen.
    • Melky Cabrera went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
    • Starling Marte tweaked his ankle in the eighth inning and was removed from the game before the ninth.
    • The scoreless inning streak came to an end after 35.2 innings.

Game Four: Gerrit Cole (10-2, 1.71 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (4-4, 4.84 ERA)

Result: Pirates win 3-2

Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (11-2, 1.78 ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Jeff Petricka (1-2, 3.92 ERA)

Save: Mark Melancon (23, 1.87 ERA)

  • What went right:
    • Gerrit Cole did his usual ace thing; it’s basically a broken record at this point. He went seven innings, allowed two runs on three hits and struck out four.
    • Josh Harrison had another multi-hit effort, going 2-4 with an RBI.
    • Pedro Alvarez had a clutch hit against Zach Duke to set up the winning run.
    • Corey Hart had his first three-hit game since 2012.
  • What went wrong:
    • Pirates couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities. They had 13 hits, but only scored three runs.
    • Jeff Samardzija continued to have success against the Pirates. He went seven innings, allowed two runs on 10 hits and struck out seven.
    • Adam Eaton reached base twice and stole second base.
    • Geovany Soto hit a towering solo home run to tie the game in the seventh inning.
    • Pirates grounded into two double plays.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense has continued to struggle, but the players are getting hits when they need them and the pitching has been absolutely dominant. Sweeping a four-game home-and-home against any big league team is always a good thing. The Pirates are a good team and they played a bad Chicago White Sox team and they did what good teams are supposed to do to bad teams. It doesn’t matter if you win 11-0 or 3-2, they all count the same. The end result is the Pirates winning eight games in a row and gaining two games on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division standings. The Pirates now leave Chicago and travel to our nation’s capital to take on the Washington Nationals for a three-game set.

Series result: Pirates win 4-0

2015 win/loss record: 39-27

2015 series record: 10-8-3