Ivan Nova Cruises, Tony Watson Gets Crushed, As Bucs Fall To Jays
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 12-0 on Monday in Grapefruit League play
On Tuesday afternoon, Ivan Nova made his first start of the spring. This start came against the Toronto Blue Jays. And, much to the Pirates’ pleasure, Nova pitched very well.
Ivan Nova pitched two innings in his start on Monday. He retired all six batters he faced, and only two balls hit off Nova left the infield. The Pirates could not have asked for a better spring debut from Nova.
Despite Nova’s strong outing, the Pirates lost to the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 12-0 on Tuesday. With the loss, the Bucs are now 3-2 in Grapefruit League play.
Closer Tony Watson was slated to pitch one inning on Monday. However, Watson struggled so mightily that he could not get out of the third inning. Watson allowed three runs, all earned, on four hits and a walk. After just 2/3 of an inning pitched Watson would be lifted for Minor League pitcher Brett McKinney.
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While I am not one to put much, if any, merit into Spring Training stats this was still an alarming outing from Watson. Three of the four hits Watson allowed were crushed, including a pair of doubles. This is right in line with Watson’s 2016 struggles that included a career high FIP, home run rate, and extra base hits allowed rate.
Daniel Hudson and Felipe Rivero would follow Watson. Each of them pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a single and striking out a batter. Juan Nicasio would allow a pair of unearned runs, due to errors by Chris Diaz and Michael Suchy, in the sixth inning. However, Nicasio also recorded a pair of strikeouts.
After Nicasio, the struggles of the bullpen would continue. Antonio Bastardo allowed three runs on three hits, a home run, and two strikeouts in the seventh inning. Pat Light allowed one on two hits in the eighth inning. Then in the ninth, A.J. Schugel allowed three solo home runs.
Francisco Cervelli made his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday afternoon. He caught six innings and went 0-for-2 at the plate. Adam Frazier, Andrew McCutchen, and Austin Meadows were all 0-for-2 as well. However, Meadows did draw a walk.
Shortstop Jordy Mercer finished the game 0-for-1 with a walk. He played six innings in the field on Tuesday.
The Pirates were held to just four singles on Tuesday. Jason Rogers, Joey Terdoslavich, Jose Osuna, and Josh Harrison collected the four singles for the Bucs.
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Next up for the Bucs is a trip to Fort Myers to play the Twins at 1:05 PM this afternoon. Non-roster invitee Josh Lindblom is slated to start for the Bucs. Tomorrow’s lineup is as follows:
- Phil Gosselin – 2B
- Starling Marte – CF
- Gregory Polanco – LF
- David Freese – 3B
- John Jaso – 1B
- Kevin Newman – SS
- Danny Ortiz – RF
- Jin-De Jhang – DH
- Christian Kelley – C
Second baseman Alen Hanson, outfielder Austin Meadows, infielder Jason Rogers, utility man Eric Wood, and infielder Max Moroff are all slated to play as well.