There are exhibition Spring Training games and then there’s the Pirates versus Dominican Republic game today in DR’s tuneup before the World Baseball Classic. These teams were making up the rules as they went and still the game was full of action…and Pirates pitchers on both teams. Oh, and you had Tyler Glasnow and Gerrit Cole battling against Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.
The teams agreed that DR would throw only three of their pitchers and the rest of the pitchers would be Pirates minor leaguers pitching against their own teammates. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that in ST game, but why not? Also at one point, Glasnow pitched an inning, was pinch-hit for, and then continued pitching on the mound for another couple innings. Fun stuff. Let’s start at the beginning…
Gerrit Cole started for the Pirates and faced a ridiculous star-studded Dominican lineup that featured Marte and Polanco hitting sixth and eighth, respectively. This lineup is one main reason DR is one of the favorites to win the WBC. The first five in the lineup read like this—Carlos Santana, Robinson Cano, Manny Machado, Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz and then you got to Marte. Double yoi!
Cole pitched very well against this murderous lineup, going three scoreless innings with just two hits allowed and no walks. One of the hits was an infield single by Cano and the other was a double to the wall by Cole’s teammate, Polanco. Cole didn’t record a strikeout, but induced six ground ball outs.
Glasnow was next to face the Dominicans and things started well in the top of the 4th inning as he went 1-2-3 to the heart of the order, including a strikeout of Bautista. In his next inning of work, he worked around three singles (two of them by Marte and Polanco) to allow one run as the Pirates led 4-1. And then in the 6th inning, the wheels came off for Glasnow as his control went out the window. Cano walked, Machado singled, then back-to-back walks to Bautista and Cruz set up Marte with bases loaded and he delivered a two-RBI groundball single to RF against his teammate. Hurdle left Glasnow in to see if he could work through it and he promptly walked Jean Segura for his fourth walk of the inning and that was it for TG.
Dan Runzler came in and proceeded to give up four of his own runs thanks to a home run by Machado and all said and done, it was a 9-run inning for the Dominican Republic. It’s hard to dissect Glasnow’s performance after his first two innings were fine and he faced such stiff competition, but his same problem still exists. His control was spotty and he struggled throwing strikes from the stretch once he got into trouble.
Some good news from this one besides Cole’s outing was that Marte and Polanco looks ready to mash for DR in the WBC. They went a combined 5-for-6 with a double, two runs, two walks and two RBIs. It’ll be fun to watch these two over the next couple weeks against legit competition.
For the actual Pirates players wearing Pirates jerseys in this one, Josh Bell went 2-for-3 with a double, Jordy Mercer had an RBI double and minor leaguers Danny Ortiz, Eury Perez and Jackson Williams each had two hits as the Bucs finished with 13 hits. Despite 13 hits, the Pirates lost 10-6 this afternoon.
Chad Kuhl will start for the Pirates Thursday afternoon versus the Rays from Port Charlotte. Marte, Polanco and Ivan Nova will take on Canada Thursday at 6PM in the Dominican Republic’s opening game in the WBC.