Well, it was much of the same that we have seen in 2016 so far. After going on a scoring binge last night, Pittsburgh found themselves not able to score runs and then have the bullpen blow the game open for the opponent.
Pittsburgh opened that game with a John Jaso walk, which was followed by a hit by pitch to Andrew McCutchen. David Freese would sacrifice them over, and with men on second and third with one out, the Pirates would fail to score any runs. At the top of the second, a red hot Sean Rodriguez would go yard with a solo shot to right field. This, however, would be the only run scored for the Bucco’s that evening.
Ruby De La Rosa, who was coming into the game with an 8.44 ERA, pretty much dominated the Pirates last night. Besides putting the first two men on base and giving up a home run to Rodriguez, he shut down the Pirates allowing just three hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.
Even Juan Nicasio had an effective outing. He went 5 innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and four walks. Unfortunately, Nicasio isn’t having the effectiveness he saw coming out of spring training. He has been throwing a lot of pitches, but just averaging 5 innings an outing.
Arquimedes Caminero would take over for a scoreless 6th inning, but in typical Caminero fashion it was not pretty. He did walk a batter and strikeout Yasmany Tomas, but made every nervous when Chris Herrmann flied out to Marte deep into left field.
A.J. Schugel would then enter the 7th, and shut down the DBacks. He would send Phil Gosselin down on strikes and then induce two immediate groundouts. The lead was still 2-1 in favor to Arizona, but still very much in reach. Schugel, who was actually on the Diamondbacks last season, was pitching very effectively entering this contest. In 6 innings pitched, he had only given up one run. Tonight was not that Schugel entering the 8th inning. He would allow three singles and then a home run to Chris Herrmann which broke the game open for the Diamondbacks to lead 7-1. Rob Scahill would come in to relieve Schugel, but the damage was done and Pittsburgh would not come back.
Though the Pirates were getting handled very well tonight, they still had opportunities to score and failed to do so. This time, they went 0-4 with runners in scoring position. There is still a lot of positives to take away from this team, but there are certainly some big glaring opportunities they need to improve upon. Once they can sure up this bullpen and lack of scoring, Pittsburgh can no doubt compete with the best of them. The good this as well is that it doesn’t look like it will take much. Jared Hughes is on the mend and should be getting the call here any day as Jung Ho Kang is also rehabbing. His call up will probably be stretched out a bit longer, but the reinforcements are coming.