The Pittsburgh Pirates are off to a 3-0 start this season
Sunday was a day of doubles at Comerica Park in Detroit for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers. Due to a rainout on Saturday, the two teams played the first doubleheader of the Major League Baseball season. The two teams also combined to hit nine doubles, as well as combining for seven double plays on Sundays.
Sunday also saw double the victories for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs swept Sunday’s doubleheader to give the team a season-opening sweep of the Detroit Tigers and a 3-0 record.
In game one of the doubleheader, Trevor Williams made his first start of the season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite issuing a career worst five walks, Williams tossed six innings of no-hit shutout ball for the Bucs. Williams also recorded a strikeout. He was always squeezed by Lance Barrett’s strike zone.
Despite the walks, Williams did a great job of keeping his composure on the mound and getting outs when he needed them. His defense also did a great job of helping him out as Williams induced a pair of ground ball double plays, and Francisco Cervelli helped him turn a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.
In this game the Pittsburgh Pirates needed just a single run. This run came when Gregory Polanco continued his great start to the season by doubling home Adam Frazier in the first inning. Ever since the start of Spring Training Polanco has been stinging the ball and driving it to all fields. If he stays healthy, he will have a great 2018 season.
In the bottom of the 9th, Felipe Rivero was looking to get back on his horse after struggling on Friday. To say Rivero did just that would be putting it lightly. Rivero faced the top three batters in Detroit’s lineup and struck out each one of them swinging.
Rivero’s performance sealed a 1-0 Pirate victory.
Game two saw Chad Kuhl make his season debut in the 8-6 Pirate victory. Throughout the game Kuhl would be burnt by bad luck and poor defense.
The Tigers scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the 1st inning due to Sean Rodriguez missing a routine fly ball to left field. Detroit also picked up a pair of infield hits off of Kuhl. When things were all said and done, Kuhl allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and 4 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings pitched.
Most importantly, Kuhl did not walk or hit a batter. Last season Kuhl’s biggest issue was control but that was not an issue at all on Sunday. With some better defense, Kuhl would have only allowed 2 runs.
Both Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl pitched better than their final lines would indicate on Sunday. If each pitcher can consistently pitch the way they did on Sunday throughout the season, then both will have strong seasons for the Pirates.
The Pittsburgh Pirates offense turned on the power switch in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader. Josh Harrison, Starling Marte, and David Freese all hit their first home runs of the season. Jordy Mercer and Francisco Cervelli each added an RBI as well.
Tyler Glasnow also made his Pirate debut in this game. Glasnow pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th inning, allowing just a single hit, walking a pair, and striking out 2.
After Dovyvas Neverauskas allowed a single and a run-scoring double to start the bottom of the 9th inning, Clint Hurdle took the ball from him and gave it to Felipe Rivero. Despite allowing a 1-out double to Miguel Cabrera, Rivero would mow down the other three batters he faced to earn his second save of the day.
Next up for the Pirates in their 2018 home opener. First pitch between the Bucs and Minnesota Twins is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. from PNC Park on Monday afternoon. Jameson Taillon will make his first start of the season for the Pirates, while the longtime Cardinal Lance Lynn will make his Twins debut.