Pittsburgh Pirates: Positive Take Aways From Game One

Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

Editorial: The Pittsburgh Pirates opened against the Boston Red Sox yesterday.  It was the first game of the year and unfortunately, the Pirates took the loss.

The Pittsburgh Pirates took the opening day loss to Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox.  The game essentially came down to a half inning for each team.  Gerrit Cole was cruising along until the fifth inning.  Jackie Bradley started the rally with a triple to right field.  He then was singled in by Pablo Sandoval.  After Sandy Leon reached base on a bunt single, Dustin Pedroia singled home Sandoval.  The rally was capped off by an Andrew Benintendi homerun over the Green Monster.  The bomb led to three more runs to give the Red Sox their five runs on the day.  All five runs came with two outs in the inning.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates struggled to get much going against the 2016 AL CY Young Award Winner. Porcello did not give up any runs through the first six innings, keeping the Pirate hitters off balance all game long.  However, they chased him in the seventh inning when they put together a three-run half inning.  Still, the end result was 5-3 in favor of the Red Sox.

Positive Take Aways from Game One

Although Gerrit Cole was tagged with five earned runs, he looked very polished in his first four innings of work.  His fastball was crisp sitting at 96.4 mph according to MLB.com, and he was routinely hitting 98 on the gun. If there was one positive takeaway from his start it was that his velocity was there deeper into the game. Before giving up the home run against Benintendi, he hit 99 on the radar.  This is a good sign as it shows that he is healthy.

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The bottom of the lineup all had at least one hit going 6 for 19 on the day.  They also produced all three of the runs scored.  Yes, this does not suggest a lot but it was still good to see the perceived worst part of the lineup getting on base.  If they can continue to do that it any compacity this season the Pittsburgh Pirates offense should be fine.

The last positive was the bullpen.  The Pittsburgh Pirates trooped out their guns yesterday and they did not disappoint.  Juan Nicasio, Felipe Rivero, and Daniel Hudson all took the mound in relief of Cole.  They each threw one inning and record five strikeouts between the three of them including Hudson striking out the side in the eighth.  Also, they were lighting up the radar gun .  Nicasio was sitting around 95 yesterday, Rivero routinely was hitting 97 miles per hour, and Hudson essentially hit 95 on every fastball he threw.  This is exactly what was advertised by the Pirates when they added Hudson this off-season.  The thought of those three just powering through hitters came to a reality yesterday.  They came out, shut down the Red Sox, and gave the Pittsburgh Pirates at least a shot to get back into the game.

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Pump the Breaks! It was the first game of the season.  No team will win all 162 games, you can bet on that.  Yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates had some ugly at-bats and Cole did blow up in the fifth inning, but there still were positives in the game.  Hopefully, the Bucs can get in the win column tomorrow against the Red Sox in game two.  It will be a tough task against ace lefty Chris Sale, but Jameson Taillon should be able to keep the Bucs in the game.  At least long enough until Sale is relieved.  The first pitch will be at 7:05 ETS.