Pittsburgh Pirates Swept at Wrigley Field
The Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night to finish off a sweep by Chicago
Entering this week’s three-game series at Wrigley Field the Pittsburgh Pirates were 5-1 at the friendly confines this season. They are now 5-4. This is due to losing to the Chicago Cubs by a score of 17-3 on Wednesday night to cap off a series sweep for the Cubs.
With the loss, the Pirates are now 63-71 on the season. The loss caps off a six-game road trip for the Pirates. On the trip, the Bucs went just 2-4. The Pirates were dominated on Wednesday night, played awful baseball, and got embarrassed as a result.
Ivan Nova started for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night and continued what has been a four-month long struggle on the mound for him. As for the Cubs, they started the man who the Pittsburgh sports media, and some Pirate fans, have dubbed as being a franchise changing starting pitcher – Jose Quintana.
In the top of the 1st inning the Pirates were able to grab an early lead off of Quintana.
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With one out Sean Rodriguez and Andrew McCutchen hit back-to-back singles. Then with two outs, David Freese singled home Rodriguez to make it 1-0 Pirates.
After Starling Marte was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Jordy Mercer would join the hit by pitch parade. However, Mercer’s plunking came with the bases loaded forcing in a run to make the score 2-0 Pirates.
After Quintana needed 31 pitches to get through the top of the 1st inning, Ivan Nova would need 32 to get through the inning’s bottom half. Jon Jay singled to start the inning and Kris Bryant drew a one-out walk. Then with two outs, Ian Happ singled to score Jay cutting the Pirate lead to 2-1 after an inning of play.
After the Pirates were retired in order in the top of the 2nd inning, the Cubs would tie the game in the innings bottom half despite failing to record a hit and three of the four hitters in the inning striking out. Yes, you read that correctly, the Cubs scored without recording a hit and with three of the four hitters in the inning striking out.
To start the inning, Javier Baez reached on a fielding error by David Freese. He then stole second base and went to third on a throwing error by Chris Stewart. After Rene Rivera struck out, Baez broke for the plate on a suicide squeeze attempt by Quintana.
For whatever reason Chris Stewart came up firing and threw the ball to third base allowing Baez to score easily, tying the game at 2. Had Stewart just held onto the ball, Baez would not have been able to score.
One of the all-time Pirate killers Jon Jay would do just that in the top of the 3rd inning. Leading off the inning Andrew McCutchen crushed a ball to straight away center field that Jay made a tumbling catch on while sprinting with his back toward the infield. Then, Josh Bell crushed what looked like a double that Jay made a fantastic running catch on.
Jon Jay can go pound sand.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning the Cubs grabbed a lead that they would not relinquish. With one out in the inning Kris Bryant singled and then Anthony Rizzo doubled him home to make the score 3-2 Cubs.
Ian Happ then hit a two-run moonshot off of Ivan Nova. Happ’s 20th home run of the season, and the 26th allowed by Nova, made the score 5-2 Cubs. Nova then retired the next two batters to end the inning.
The 3rd inning would be Ivan Nova’s last on Wednesday night. He allowed 5 runs, 4 earned, on 5 hits, a walk, the Happ home run, and he struck out 5 in his 3 innings pitched. On the year he now owns a 4.11 ERA, 4.41 FIP, and is closing in on the franchise record for home runs allowed in a single season (32).
Steven Brault replaced Nova in the bottom of the 4th inning and promptly allowed a double to Rene Rivera to start the inning. However, he was able to retire the next three hitters to keep the score at 5-2.
In the bottom of the 5th inning the Cubs would blow the game open.
Kris Bryant reached on a broken bat single off of Brault to start the inning and then Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch. This was followed by an Ian Happ double that scored Bryant, put Rizzo on third, and made the score 6-2 Cubs.
Jason Heyward would then single home Rizzo to make the score 7-2, as well as ending Brault’s night. A.J. Schugel then entered the game replacing Brault and he allowed a two-run double to Javier Baez to make the score 9-2 Cubs.
After a groundout moved Baez to third base, Schugel would allow a RBI single to Jose Quintana to make the score 10-2 Cubs. After Jon Jay struck out, Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run home run to make the score 12-2 Chicago.
In 1+ innings pitched Steven Brault was charged with 4 runs on 4 hits, he hit a batter, and he struck out a batter. After leading the International League in ERA and being named the league’s pitcher of the year this season, Brault has struggled immensely in the Major Leagues as he now owns a 4.61 ERA, 5.58 xFIP, and he’s allowed 20 hits in 13 2/3 innings pitched.
With one out in the top of the 6th inning Josh Bell crushed his 23rd home run of the season to make the score 12-3 Cubs. Bell is now just three home runs shy of tying Jason Bay’s Pirate rookie home run record.
This closed the book on Quintana. In 6 innings pitched on Wednesday night Quintana allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, a home run, no walks, and he struck out 9 Pirate hitters.
Anthony Rizzo led off the bottom of the 7th inning with his 31st home run of the season. He hit the home run off of new Pirate pitcher Angel Sanchez and it made the score 13-3 Cubs after 6 innings of play.
Hector Rondon replaced Quintana on the hill in the top of the 7th inning for the Cubs. Outside of allowing a pinch-hit single with two outs to Max Moroff, Rondon retired the batters he faced to keep the score at 13-3.
In the bottom of the 7th inning Angel Sanchez allowed a two-run home run to Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber’s second home run of the night and 24th of the season made the score 15-3 Cubs after 8 innings of play.
After Justin Wilson pitched a scoreless top of the 8th inning, Felipe Rivero entered in the inning’s bottom half to get work. Rivero struggled as he allowed a pair of runs, as well as the first hit he had allowed to a left-handed hitter since the month of May. When the dust settled, Dovydas Neverauskas had to record the final out of the inning and the Cubs led 17-3.
In the top of the 9th inning the Pirates took their final hacks of the night against Felix Pena. To his credit, Jordy Mercer put together a strong at bat with two outs to pick up a double. Pena then struck out Elias Diaz to mercifully end the game.
With the loss, the Pirates finish the month of August a miserable 12-17.
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The 2017 season has been a miserable one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mercifully, there is just one month and 28 games left for the 2017 Pittsburgh Baseball Club. Hopefully, the Pirates can have a strong September and enter the offseason on a positive note.
After a day off tomorrow, the Pirates return to PNC Park this weekend. The Bucs will start a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at 7:05 on Friday night. Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while Luis Castillo is the scheduled starter for Cincinnati.