Today’s game featured Ivan Nova facing his previous team for the first time, and he did not disappoint. After delivering a 4.41 ERA with his tenure in New York, he entered today’s game with a 2.89 ERA in his 84.2 innings with the Pirates. With him saying he is no longer afraid to throw strikes, he continued his streak of brilliance going 7 innings while allowing just four hits, one homer, one walk, and striking out seven. His walk today was the first of the year and came with the Yankees pitcher, Jordan Montgomery, up to bat.
With Ivan Nova giving this team a chance to win with his pitching performance, the bats showed up but were not clutch. Right off the bat, the Buccos had the bases loaded with no outs and an opportunity to break the game open early. Jordy Mercer walked and then Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen followed up with singles. With zero outs, we managed to score only one run with a David Freese sac fly.
This scenario would happen again today in the 7th inning. It became with Bryan Mitchell walking John Jaso, giving up a single to Chris Stewart, and then finally walking pinch hitter Josh Bell. With bases loaded and zero outs once again, the Pirates failed to score anyone. Mercer and Harrison each flew out and then finally Andrew McCutchen struck out swinging.
As much trouble as Jordan Montgomery got himself into, he walked away with a quality line today. He lasted 6 innings giving up just two earned runs. In those innings, he allowed seven hits, two walks, and struck out five. The rookie escaped an early inning disaster but kept his poise and limited the damage the rest of the way. The only other run was scored when Gregory Polanco drove in Cutch with an RBI double in the 3rd.
As mentioned, the bats looked pretty good today with Josh Harrison, Gregory Polanco, and Chris Stewart each getting multiple hits. Stewart actually hit his very first major league triple of his career. The issues today were hitting with RISP and defense, which both have been a major issue for this ball club this season. Josh Harrison made a costly error in the 9th inning which ended up loading the bases instead of completing a game ending double play. With just one out, Tony Watson had to get out of a real jam to earn his sixth save of the season.
It wasn’t pretty watching Watson today close out the game. He started off many of the batters in an 0-2 count, but couldn’t put them away. He allowed a single to Aaron Judge and then walked Matt Holliday to provide the two base runners before the JHay error. Luckily, he was able to strike out Aaron Hicks and then ground out Pete Kozma to end the game.
The Pirates will next face the Cubs for the second time this year. This time, the game will be played at PNC Park. Tomorrow’s game will feature Chad Kuhl going up against Brett Anderson. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM.