Chicago Cubs 12, Pittsburgh Pirates 2: Stars And Stiffs
After being walloped by the Chicago Cubs 12-2 on Monday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates have now lost three games in a row.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ chances of finishing over .500 this season are looking bleaker by the day. The Pirates now find themselves with a record of 77-79 after being defeated by the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. And their last six games come against playoff teams.
The Pirates will play three more games against the Chicago Cubs, before going to St. Louis to play three against the Cardinals this weekend. After Monday night’s loss the Pirates are now just 3-13 against the Cubs this season. Here are the Pirates’ three stars and stiffs from Monday night.
Relief pitcher Zach Phillips – In the top of the fourth inning Zach Phillips was called upon with the Pirates trailing 5-0. On top of that, Phillips inherited an absolute mess on the bases. This mess was due to the Cubs having the bases loaded with no one out.
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Phillips did an excellent job of cleaning up the mess Chad Kuhl created. He first struck out Anthony Rizzo. Then he got Willson Contreras to hit into an inning ending double play. Phillips would also pitch a scoreless fifth inning.
In two innings pitched on Monday night Zach Phillips allowed just one base hit, he struck out a pair of batters, and he got out of a bases loaded jam he did not create. Phillips has had a strong month of September for the Pirates.
Left fielder Matt Joyce – Even though Matt Joyce was not in the starting lineup on Monday night, he would produce the Pirates’ first run of the game. Joyce stepped to the plate to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning with the Pirates trailing 12-0. However, he was about to change this.
Joyce would drive a Hector Rondon pitch over the left field wall. The opposite field home run was Joyce’s 13th of season. Matt Joyce would finish his night 1-for-2.
Pinch hitter David Freese – The second Pirates’ run on Monday night came courtesy of David Freese. After Matt Joyce homered to lead off the bottom of the eighth, David Freese came to the plate as a pinch hitter. Freese would proceed to drive a Hector Rondon pitch to right centerfield for his 13th home run of the season.
Starting pitcher Chad Kuhl – 2016 was a strong rookie campaign for Chad Kuhl. He made 13 starts for the Pirates, pitched 65 2/3 innings, and he posted a 4.11 FIP. However, his 13th, and possibly final, start of the season was his worst.
Through three innings things were going well for Chad Kuhl. He had allowed a run on just two hits and he had struck out three batters. However, in the fifth inning the wheels came off.
In the top of the fourth inning Kuhl loaded the bases with no one out and he allowed a grand slam to Javier Baez. Then, once again, he loaded the bases with no one out. After this Kuhl would be removed from the game for Zach Phillips.
In Monday night’s start Chad Kuhl allowed a career high five runs on eight hits, two walks, and he hit a batter. Hopefully Kuhl can make one more start this season to finish his rookie campaign on a strong note. I look for Kuhl to play a big role in the Pirates’ rotation in 2017.
Relief pitcher Steven Brault – The struggles of Steven Brault continues. Brault made his first career relief appearance on Monday night. Unfortunately, much like his seven starts, it did not go well.
Steven Brault took over in the top of the sixth inning with the Pirates already trailing 5-0. Quickly, Brault would make things worse. Steven Brault wound up pitching 1 2/3 innings on Monday night, and he allowed seven runs.
To go along with the seven runs he allowed Brault also surrendered six hits, three walks, and a home run. He know owns a 4.86 ERA, 5.06 FIP, and a 4.76 xFIP this season. I look for Brault to start the 2017 season at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Shortstop Jordy Mercer – Monday night was not a banner night for Pirates’ shortstop Jordy Mercer. Not only did Mercer have a bad night at the plate, but he also committed an error that led to a trio of unearned runs for the Cubs.
Mercer finished the game 0-for-2 at the plate. And in the top of the sixth inning he committed his ninth error of the season. Mercer dropped the feed from Jung Ho Kang on a potential inning ending double play ball. Due to this error, the Cubs went on to score three unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Mercifully, that will do it for Monday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they send Ryan Vogelsong to the mound. The Cubs will counter with John Lackey. Hopefully, this is Vogelsong’s last start as a Pirate.