Pittsburgh Pirates Defeat Chicago Cubs 4-2, Get Back to .500


2. 9. Final. 4. 4

It was a wild day at Wrigley Field, but it was a day that resulted in the Pittsburgh Pirates getting back to .500 on the young season

Friday was a strange day at Wrigley Field. Originally, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs were set to play baseball at 2:20 PM ET. Well, due to inclement weather in Chicago there was not just a rain delay, the start of the game was delayed nearly six hours to 8:05 PM ET, 7:05 PM local time.

Through the weirdness that was Friday in Chicago, the Pittsburgh Pirates emerged as 4-2 victors. With the win the Pirates have now taken the first two games of this four-game series, and have gotten back to .500 on the season at 7-7.

José Quintana battles against former club

Veteran left José Quintana made his third start of the season on Friday night, the second of which that has come against the Cubs. Quintana battled his command at times but was able to give the Pirates 4.2 strong innings.

Quintana allowed a pair of runs in the 2nd inning, but that was it for the Cubs doing damage against Quintana. In 4.2 innings pitched Quintana allowed the 2 runs on 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.

The veteran lefty threw 59% of his pitches for strikes. He generated 7 swings-and-misses, and, while he missed some spots at times, he did do a great job of painting the outside corner throughout his start.

As Noah wrote about on Friday, the starting rotation has been the biggest issue for the Pirates in the early going this season. Quintana, however, has been the team’s most reliable starting pitcher, owning a team best 3.86 ERA and 4.56 FIP through his first three starts. Hopefully, Quintana will be able to go deeper into games and give the Pittsburgh Pirates more innings moving forward.

Michael Chavis continues strong start to the season

Early on this season Michael Chavis has been one of the best players for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Friday night he made the start at first base and continued to make an impact with his hot start to the season.

With the game tied at 2 in the top of the 4th inning, Chavis stepped to the plate to lead the inning off. Chavis proceeded to launched a Drew Smyly pitch into the outfield seats. The 2nd home run of the season by Chavis gave the team a 3-2 lead.

While Chavis would hit into a double play later in the game it was still a ball he hit hard. The double play ball left Chavis’s bat at 96.8 MPH. Chavis entered the game ranking in the 68th percentile of baseball in hard hit rate, he hit three balls at 96.8 MPH or greater on Friday night. Hard contact has not been an issue for Chavis this season. If that continues, then so will his early season success at the plate.

A big night for Roberto Pérez

Very quickly catcher Roberto Pérez has started to make an impact for the Pirates. He has provided great defense and leadership from the catcher position, while also doing a great job of handling the Pirate pitching staff.

Friday night Pérez had his best offensive night yet as a member of the Pirates. Pérez’s strong night at the plated started in the 2nd inning when he ripped a 97.4 MPH single down the third base line, scoring Kevin Newman and Josh VanMeter to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

Leading off the top of the 5th inning Pérez would hit his 1st Pirate home run. Pérez launched a Smyly fastball 102.5 MPH over the left field wall at Wrigley. Pérez’s blast extended the Pirate lead to 4-2.

Pérez had the game’s two biggest hits on Friday night. These two hits were a key driving force behind the Pirate victory. Through his first 38 plate appearances this season Pérez owns a .342 on-base percentage and a 111 wRC+.

Pirates barely escape in the 7th inning

The Pittsburgh Pirates carried a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 7th inning. Chase De Jong was on the mound for his 2nd inning of work and appeared to be cruising. However, nothing can ever be that easy.

After retiring the first 5 batters he faced, De Jong walked Ian Happ with two outs in the inning and allowed a base hit to Nico Hoerner. Nick Madrigal then hit a ground ball that nearly turned into disaster for the Pirates.

Josh VanMeter fielded the ground ball and beat Hoerner to the bag at second base by less than a step. VanMeter stepped on the bag to get the final out of the inning, but as he was doing so Happ had rounded third and touched home plate. Had VanMeter not beaten Hoerner to the bag it would have cut the Pirate lead to 4-3 and put the tying run in scoring position for the Cubs. Thankfully, VanMeter completed the play and the Pirates could exhale.

Bullpen keeps on keepin’ on

Through the first 14 games of the season the bullpen has been a major story for the Pirates. Friday night the Pirate bullpen continued their early season success by pitching 4.1 scoreless innings.

Heath Hembree took over for Quintana with two outs in the 5th inning and struck out the lone batter he faced. De Jong then struck out a pair in 2 scoreless innings of work, before David Bednar took over in the 8th.

To Derek Shelton’s credit he once again went to Bednar in the game’s highest leverage situation instead of saving him for the dreaded ‘save.’ Facing the Cubs 2-5 hitters, Bednar allowed a single to start the inning before striking out the next three Cub batters.

In the 9th inning it was Chris Stratton time. Like Bednar, Stratton allowed a base hit to start the inning. While Stratton allowed a tough luck tow-out hit to Nico Hoerner after he hit a ball off Stratton’s arm, he was able to close the door in the 9th to earn his 2nd save in as many days.

Next. Draft Debate: Elijah Green vs Druw Jones. dark

Game three of this four-game series is scheduled for 2:20 PM ET on Saturday afternoon. Zach Thompson (9.00 ERA, 6.18 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the Cubs plan to send Kyle Hendricks (6.08 ERA, 3.73 fIP) to the mound.