Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-1 to pick up their first series victory of the season
Happy Sunday, Pittsburgh Pirates fans. Sunday afternoon the Pirates and Chicago Cubs did battle in the rummier match of their three-game weekend series. JT Brubaker toed the rubber for the Pirates and was opposed by ex-Pirate Trevor Williams.
Following a strong start by Brubaker and excellent work from the bullpen, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-1 to pick up their first series victory of the season. With the win, the Pirates are now 3-6 overall on the season.
Sunday afternoon’s game created some exciting moments for fans and even led to several people looking up the Major League rule book a few times. Like always, let’s start by discussing the pitching for the Bucs.
JT Brubaker turns in a strong start
Brubaker was looking to go deeper than he did in his first start when he lasted just 4 innings against the Reds. Sunday afternoon he did just that by pitching with confidence, aggressiveness, and, most importantly, efficiency. Following Mitch Keller’s promising start on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon was just the cherry on the top of a beautiful sundae.
Brubaker pitched himself into a couple of jams, but each time he was able to pitch his way out of the mess. Willson Contreras was hit by a pitch in the 3rd inning when the Cubs had runners on the corners with just one out. Brubaker responded by getting Anthony Rizzo to hit ground a ball to Colin Moran with confusion ensuing.
Kevin Newman tagged the second base bag and then uncorked a wild throw that went sailing past Moran at first base. It appeared the Cubs had scored but Derek Shelton challenged the play under what we will call the Chase Utley rule. We saw Contreras intentionally slide into Newman outside of the base path, thus resulting in an inning-ending double play. This play, in particular, signified what kind of day Brubaker would have. He looked composed all day and managed to keep his cool.
Brubaker would go on to pitch a terrific game for today’s standards. In 5.1 innings of work he allowed just a solo home run to Contreras, 4 hits, he walked a pair, hit a pair of batters and struck out 4. It’s still very early in the season, but if we can get these kinds of games from guys like Keller and Brubaker, consider me a very happy fan and journalist.
The first arm to come in from the bullpen was the struggling Sam Howard with one out in the 6th inning. In need of a strong, bounce back outing, Howard produced just that.
The lefty struck out Joc Pederson, thanks in large part to some tremendous framing by Jacob Stallings. The next batter he faced was the free-swinging Javier Baez, and Baez did just that. He swung at three straight out of the zone pitches, and Howard got out of it. Howard would pitch to one more batter in the 7th inning, and he got the job done. Howard faced three batters, retired each of them and struck out a pair.
The next arm to come in was another struggling arm in Chris Stratton. I honestly thought he would be the most consistent pitcher in the bullpen to start the season but those couple of outings he’s had were rough, to say the least. Sunday afternoon, however, Stratton was efficient with his work as he rested both batters he faced. Hopefully, this series is what the boys needed to get on track slightly.
A pitcher I absolutely wanted to see today was Kyle Crick, and I got my wish in the 8th inning. We have seen Crick struggle with his command lately, and I want to see him start to put his stuff together and make it click in his head. Other than giving up the single to Contreras, Crick looked solid. I loved his at-bat against Rizzo, challenging him after falling behind 2-0 and striking him out. Crick allowed a hit, did not walk a batter and struck a batter out in the 8th inning.
How fun was it to see David Bednar, the Pittsburgh native, to finish the game?! Bednar pitched very well, and we even saw him touch 99 MPH on the gun. There is nothing better than to see a local kid get his shot on his childhood team. Bednar recording a strikeout while retiring the side in order in the 9th inning.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had fun again today, absolutely demolishing the ball fo ra second day in a row. Again, we saw some key names deliver and deliver at will. We saw Bryan Reynolds go 4-5, Phillip Evans go 2-5 and Stallings go 2-3. The best hitter of the day, and I mean this, was Brubaker. He delivered in the clutch twice a drove in 3 runs. It sounds absurd, but it’s true, it’s damn true.
All joking aside, it was really fun to watch these Pirates for two straight games. They managed 14 hits and drove in 7 runs. We even saw Wilmer Difo hit a 2-run blast in a pinch-hitting situation. I loved what we saw today, and the Pirates earned their first series win of the season with a 7-1 victory.
- Bryan Reynolds has found his swing, and the league better watch out
- JT Brubaker looked very good and might have found his stride
- The bullpen got some much-needed rest
- I think Dustin Fowler won a second straight game in center field today
- Cub fans can now suffer knowing Trevor Williams is pitching every five days