The Pirates welcomed back the hometown kid in Neil Walker and he made sure to provide a few more memorable moments as the Pirates fell 8-1 on the night that Flo Rida rocked Pirates Stadium.
Walker entered the night with .260 batting average, four home runs, and a 99 wRC+. Essentially, he was doing what Neil has always done. Then last night, Neil erupted going 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI’s, while scoring three times. He raised his wRC+ to a 110, up 11 points in just one night.
It wasn’t the best start for Chad Kuhl as he lasted only 4.1 innings while giving up five earned runs. He gave up to homers, both to Neil Walker. Kuhl finds himself in a strange spot. His 6.29 ERA screams not a starter, but his 4.15 FIP says there might be some bad luck sprinkled in there. His velocity is up a few ticks from last year, but it doesn’t appear as if he’s getting the needed movement on his sinker. Both home runs were hit off of his sinker while all three of his strikeouts were his slider. He has shown enough to me this year that he has some out pitches, but he has been pretty flat on his fastball/sinker for the most part.
One guy who didn’t have trouble with his pitches was Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. He blew through the Pirates lineup allowing just one run, a home run to Gregory Polanco, with 10 strikeouts in 8.1 innings. deGrom lowered his ERA to a 3.23 on the year and his FIP to a 3.13. With all the injuries to this Mets staff, deGrom has been doing everything he can do to try and glue it together himself.
There wasn’t much offense in this game by the Buccos. Besides the two hits including his 411 mammoth shot by Polanco, Josh Harrison was the only Pirate to get on base twice. He collected two singles and also a stolen base which gives him five on the season.
The bullpen as a unit was shaky, but there were some positive takeaways. Daniel Hudson pitched two consecutive innings tonight of scoreless baseball allowing no hits, no walks, and struck out three. With all the trouble he’s found this season, he now has gone scoreless in the last five outings (5.1 innings), with just three hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. Seeing him string together some excellent outings is really encouraging for this unit.