Tonight was a win for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the standings but it may have came at a huge cost. We’ll get to that part later.
Tonight was the night of the long ball in Washington. The two teams combined for 11 runs and nine of them came via the home run. Andrew McCutchen and Jayson Werth each had two home runs while Adam LaRoche added one of his own. Fortunately for the Pirates, they were the ones that were able to manufacture a couple of runs. Russell Martin scored on a ground out by Gaby Sanchez in the fourth inning and Pedro Alvarez scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.
Charlie Morton catches a lot of heat by Pirates fans. I am admittedly a huge Morton fan. So it feels pretty good for me to brag a little bit about how good he has been pitching. Tonight was no exception. He fumbled around a little bit in the seventh inning but he pitched 6 2/3 effective innings. He only had one walk and struck out five. Most importantly, over his past two starts he is going deeper into the ball games that he pitches in.
Player of the Game: Andrew McCutchen
You don’t hit two home runs as a part of the win and not be considered the most important player in a game. Most pitchers in the league, but especially Morton, pitch a lot better with the lead. Morton never had to pitch from behind in this one. McCutchen’s first home run was a two run shot which scored Jordy Mercer who walked in the previous at bat. His second home run came in his next at bat. It was also of the two run variety. Starling Marte was the baserunner for that one.
Play of the Game: Jason Grilli
It’s a rare scenario when a team wins a game and the biggest play is something negative. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to the Pirates tonight. They went into the ninth inning with a three run lead. That’s usually a guaranteed win with Grilli taking the mound. The first two batters he faced resulted in a walk to LaRoche and a home run to Werth. During the Werth at bat, Tim Neverett and John Wehner started discussing on the TV broadcast that Grilli appeared to be uncomfortable. Grilli ended up accumulating a couple of strike outs but he was still leaving every pitch up in the zone and was flexing his hand after every pitch. With Steve Lombardozzi in the batter’s box, Grilli threw a pitch and immediately called out the trainers in obvious pain. He left the game and Vin Mazzaro came on and picked up his first career save. The injury did not look good but I’m also the furthest thing there is from a doctor. Regardless of how serious it is, this is exactly why you can never have enough pitching.
Up Next: Washington Nationals, Tuesday, 7:05pm
Tomorrow’s nights pitching match-up will star two high profile rookies. Gerrit Cole will be pitching for the Pirates trying to rebound from a shaky start his last time out. The box score doesn’t look too bad but all three runs came in the first inning which is a big hole for this team’s offense to climb out of normally.
Cole will be facing Taylor Jordan who has even less major league experience. This will be his fifth start. He’s been solid but has yet to earn his first major league win. He doesn’t give up many runs but he has given up his fair share of hits. Combine that with the Nationals’ conservative approach with his pitch count and the Pirates could get into the bullpen early.