Chicago Cubs 9, Pittsburgh Pirates 4: Stars And Stiffs
The Pittsburgh Pirates were walloped by the Chicago Cubs 9-4 on Friday afternoon. With the loss, the Pirates are now 0-4 against the Cubs this season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates struggles against the Chicago Cubs continued on Friday afternoon dropping game one of their three game series at Wrigley Field by a score of 9-4. Take away being 0-4 against the Cubs on the season, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have a .600 winning percentage which is a 97 win pace. Unfortunately, right now the Chicago Cubs are on their own planet and are decimating everyone. Anyway, here are the three stars and stiffs from today’s beat down.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen – After a slow start to the season, Pittsburgh Pirates super star Andrew McCutchen is starting to heat up. Cutch went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run on Friday afternoon. This three hit effort raised Cutch’s slash line to .261/.361/.500/.861 on the season, and his wOBA has climbed to .369 and his wRC+ is up to 131.
In the month of May McCutchen’s slash line is now a very healthy .341/.413/.634/1.047. After struggling in April, it looks like Andrew McCutchen has awaken. And that is bad news for the rest of Major League Baseball.
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Right fielder Gregory Polanco – On Friday afternoon Gregory Polanco’s breakout season continued as the left-handed hitting right fielder went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk in the Pirate loss. Polanco now has a .392 OBP, .888 OPS, .377 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 136.
Polanco’s second double of the game was smoked off of left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard. Gregory Polanco has a .357 OBP, a slugging percentage of .435, and an OPS of .792 against left-handed pitching this season. Polanco’s growth against left-handed pitching this season has been great to see.
Pitcher Jared Hughes – Today was the sixth appearance for Jared Hughes since coming off the disabled list, and it was his best outing yet. Hughes retired the Cubs in order in the seventh inning, his pitches looked the crispest they have all season, and his sinker ball that he is known for had very good sink on it.
Hopefully Jared Hughes is starting to round into form. If Hughes can start to pitch the way he has the past four seasons, the back end of the Pirate bullpen will once again become one of the team’s strengths.
Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano – Francisco Liriano was horrible on Friday afternoon. After cruising through the first three innings, the wheels came off for Liriano in the fourth. When it was all said and done, Liriano had allowed eight runs on nine hits, four walks, and three home runs in just 4 2/3 innings pitched.
When Liriano exited the game, the Pirates were already trailing 8-0. Liriano did not give his team much of a chance to win today, and that is a rarity from Franky. I would expect a strong bounce back start from Liriano against the Braves on Wednesday.
Relief pitcher Arquimedes Caminero – There is not a whole lot left to say about Arquimedes Caminero, the guy has been absolutely atrocious in 2016. Caminero pitched the eighth inning for the Pittsburgh Pirates today, and allowed a run on two hits. Even though he did not walk anyone, Caminero’s control was a mess again and the ball was all over the place.
Caminero has now pitched 14 2/3 innings this season and has allowed 18 hits, he’s walked 11 batters, and he has allowed two home runs. It all shakes out to a 4.91 ERA, 5.55 FIP, and a 5.48 xFIP. In my opinion, Caminero should be shown the door, not A.J. Schugel, when Cory Luebke returns off the disabled list which should be soon.
The moron who threw back Andrew McCutchen’s home run ball – When Cutch blasted his two-run home run in the top of the 9th inning off of Trevor Cahill, a little kid in the stands caught the baseball. As one would expect, the kid was celebrating and seemed ecstatic. Hell, I’m a 23 year old man and would be that way if I caught an Andrew McCutchen home run ball.
Well, no worries, this young man’s fun was about to be ruined. The Wrigley Field crowd was not happy that Cutch’s home run ball was not going to be thrown back. So, what I’m assuming was the boy’s father, ripped the ball out of his hands and threw it back into the field as the Wrigley faithful cheered. What a classless move that was, disgustingly, cheered on by a classless fan base.
Okay, that does it for today. Today sucked, playing the Cubs sucks, Joe Maddon sucks, and being in their division sucks. Tomorrow we get Jake Arrieta against Jeff Locke, and that will probably suck too. I can’t wait to get back to PNC Park for a 10 game home stand against three terrible teams starting Monday.