Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call – Biggest Series of the Year
By Steve Kubitz
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items from around the web as well.
Biggest series win of the season
Last night the Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and man it felt good. Still have an uphill climb to catch the Cardinals for the NL Central title, but the Pirates needed to win the series and they did just that. The offense once again exploded as they put up seven runs on 13 hits. Any time the Pirates beat the Cardinals, it’s a good thing, but it’s especially big in Busch Stadium as the Pirates have obviously struggled there for the bulk of 2014 and 2015. Outside of game two, the Pirates pretty much controlled the series and blew out the Cardinals in their ballpark.
Oddly enough this was the first road series victory against an NL Central opponent of the season for the Pirates and hopefully this is a sign that the team will start playing better against their own division as the rest of September features a lot of NL Central opponents. Not to mention that the most likely path to the World Series will feature the Cubs in a Wild Card game and the Cardinals in the NLDS. So the time to get better against the Central division is right now.
Riding the Cole Train
The series win was the most important thing, but perhaps almost equally important was Gerrit Cole returning to his ace form that we saw for most of the season. Cole quite simply, shoved. He went seven innings, allowed zero runs on two hits and struck out seven. Outside of the first inning, where Cole had some control issues, he pretty much kept the Cardinals’ hitters completely off-balance and uncomfortable. He got nastier as the game went on, including hitting 100MPH on his 94th pitch of the night.
Cole has earned the reputation of being a big game pitcher and he showed it last night. It was Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN against our arch-rival in a must-win game to keep your division hopes alive and Cole was absolutely awesome. Cole showed last night why if there is indeed a wildcard game in the Pirates’ future, he must be the one to pitch in it. He’s our ace and proving that despite his recent some-what skid, he’s still one of the elite young pitchers in all of baseball.
The Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t the only team in the system to be in a playoff race as the Altoona Curve clinched their first post season berth since 2010. The Indianapolis Indians also clinched another post season berth are currently tied with the Columbus Clippers for the International League’s Western Division lead. It’s a good time to be in the Pirates organization as there is winning throughout all levels of the Minor Leagues.
Tyler Glasnow also had a fantastic bounce back start following his worst start in Triple-A. He went 7.1 innings, allowed one run on six hits and struck out eight. He brought his Triple-A ERA down to 2.20. The Free Glasnow campaign has mostly slowed down, but it is still good to see the top pitching prospect in the system do well in Triple-A.
Josh Bell also had himself a night for the Indianapolis Indians. He was a late game substitution and hit a triple and had two RBI. Josh Bell may be an unfinished product in terms of being a defensive first baseman, but the bat has really come around nice in Triple-A. He’s currently hitting .359 with a .975OPS. The power hasn’t fully developed yet, but the skill set is very intriguing.
Pirates talk around the web
Since they’re currently in a pennant race of their own and feature two of the Pirates’ top prospects, read up on the Indianapolis Indians playing well down the stretch.
A.J. Burnett expects to return to action very soon as his simulated games have gone very well.
Ron Cook says Neal Huntington is the man with the midas touch in a pretty cool story on the Pirates GM.