Friday, May 22, 2015

All Aboard the Cole Train; Bucs Take Opener 4-1

Noah Syndergaard has a bright future ahead of him, but for Gerrit Cole, the future is now. Cole K'ed 10 and the Bucs took care of the rest with a red circle day on D, making a handful of sweet plays, turning four DPs and Stew putting the cherry on top by tossing out a pair of base stealers as the Pirates played perhaps their most solid game of year in defeating the Mets 4-1.

Cole surrendered just six hits in 8-1/3 frames, and his only walk came in the ninth (he was still red lining the radar gun at 97 and hit 99 once) as he won for the sixth time. The offense strung together a pair of two-run frames against Syndergaard, and that was plenty.

In the second, Pedro doubled with two down and El Coffee singled him in when his hard grounder deflected off Lucas Duda's mitt. Gregory stole second and came home when Stew doubled down the line. The Mets came right back and got on the board on an error, single, sac bunt and wild pitch - yes, it was an ugly run - but Gerrit kept the tying run at third with a big one-out K and inning-ending fly.

The Pirates added on in the sixth. Cutch opened with a double, moved to third on a Marte ground out and scored when Jung-Ho bounced one through a drawn-in infield. A wild pickoff moved Kang to second, he stole third easily as Syndergaard fell asleep on the hill, and scored on Pedro's fly to left; it was hard to tell if the slide (JHK ended up doing a double somersault) or the throw was worse.

Cole appreciated the effort; he whiffed the side in the seventh and carried the lead into the ninth.  After an opening K (low but nicely framed by Stew), a single to right and walk brought him to 111 pitches and Clint gave him the hook. It was nervous time; Mark the Shark had to face Duda and then Michael Cuddyer. But no sweat, as it turned out - three pitches later, a pop up and weak grounder closed the deal.

The future's so bright... (photo: Ronald Martinez/USA Today)
If you like pitching, tomorrow afternoon features another marquee matchup between AJ Burnett and Matt Harvey.

  • Josh extended his hitting streak to nine games and Jung-Ho ran his string to five. Starling's streak ended at seven games, while Gregory Polanco broke out of a 0-for-19 funk with an RBI single.
  • Stew was the man of the hour. He had two hits, threw out two runners and earned at least a pair of Gerrit's 10 K with some nice third-strike framing.
  • Cole came within two outs of his first complete game in his 50th start. It was the third time in his career he worked into the ninth.
  • Cutch took over the team lead in beanings with six when a changeup caught him in the back; The Kid has five HBP. 
  • Clint confirmed it - Charlie Morton will return to the starting rotation Monday when Pittsburgh faces Miami.

No comments: