Pittsburgh Pirates shut out 5-0 by Cubs in Happs’ debut
By Tyler Waite
The Pittsburgh Pirates had an all-around poor performance in a 5-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. The Pirates only managed four hits compared to 14 from the Cubs’ batters and Jake Arrieta pitched seven dominant innings as the Cubs moved to within three games of the Pirates for the first Wild Card spot. The Pirates, however, managed to stay within 5.5 games of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central as the Cardinals also lost the same night.
J.A. Happ made his debut as a Pirate, taking A.J. Burnett‘s spot in the rotation for the time being, and didn’t make a great first impression. Happ labored through 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, as he now holds an early 8.31 ERA with the Bucs. Happ threw 99 pitches, only 59 of which were strikes.
Arieta stole the show on the night. He lasted seven innings, allowing just two hits to lower his ERA to 2.50 on the season. The Pirates didn’t get a runner to second until the seventh inning, Arieta’s final inning. He probably would have lasted longer too, but he had already thrown 109 pitches up to that point.
The Cubs scored their five runs in five separate innings, starting in the first when Happ walked in a run with the bases loaded. Starlin Castro then doubled that lead with a double in the second inning, scoring Rizzo. Three more runs would be added in the third, fifth, and sixth innings, and those five runs would be the only scoring on the night.
What Stood Out
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The Pirates were stifled by Arieta, and their offense continues to be inconsistent. Four hits is almost never going to lead to a win, and this team often doesn’t hit great pitchers at all. They’re going to need to learn to do this come playoff time, where they’ll only face great pitching.
J.A. Happ did not have a great debut for the Pirates. He is not a viable replacement for Burnett, and unless the offense can hit for him, Happ will not accrue wins as a Pirate.
Anthony Rizzo for the Cubs had a monster game, going 4-5 from the dish. Chris Denorfia also had a big game, going 3-6 from the plate.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (61-44) will take on the Chicago Cubs (58-47) in the second game of this series on Wednesday night at 7:05 PM. Jeff Locke (6-6, 4.21 ERA) will take the mound for the Pirates. He will be opposed by the recently traded Dan Haren, who is making his debut as a member of the Cubs. The first game of the series that was postponed on Monday night will be made up at a later date.