For the first time in what seems as forever, the Pirates completed a game on the same day it started. With the final out being made at 9:50, tonight’s game was completed in just 2 hours and 45 minutes. Much of the can be credited to the way both starter were pitching, especially Juan Nicasio.
Nicasio pitched a gem tonight as he went 7 strong innings. Throwing just 97 pitches, Juan allowed three hits, one walk, and struck out eight. There were some terrific plays made in the field, but the fact the Juan threw 65% of his pitches for strikes tonight played into his performance. It’s been relatively a long time since we saw this type of performance out of our #4 starter. After tonight’s game, Nicasio successfully lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.33.
The scoring broke in the 3rd inning when David Freese singled in Jordy Mercer who himself got on by a line drive to center. The in the 4th inning, Josh Harrison ended his streak of 379 at bats without a home run by blasting a Dan Straily pitch over the Clemente Wall. As a matter of fact, it was such a blistering hit that Harrison had to cut his nails upon entering the dugout.
Dan Straily would leave the game after the 6th inning and provide the Reds with a quality start. In his outing, he would allow five hits, three walks, and strike out five Bucco batters. Straily has seen himself get bounced around by teams since being traded away from the A’s with little success, but seems to be getting into a nice groove there in Cincinnati. He also would leave the game lowering his ERA, which for him would be at a 3.38.
J.J. Hoover would replace Straily in the 7th and allow Mercer’s second hit of the game. Immediately after, Matt Joyce would barely clear the left field wall for his third home run of the season making the game a 4-0 lead. Its easy to see why this team is doing so well. Currently, they are on a pace to break an all time record for most base runners in a season. Also, the Pirates bench actually has more home runs than the entire Atlanta Braves roster for the season. As the NSN predicted in the offseason, this team’s depth is a real attribute.
Tony Watson entered the game in the 8th and did was he has consistently done before as he shut down the Reds to carry over the lead into the 9th. Arquimedes Caminero would take the mound from there, and in typical 2016 Caminero fashion, he made it interesting. Joey Votto would sneak a hit right past Josh Harrison to allow the first hitter on base with no outs. After recording 2 consecutive outs, Caminero would then give up an RBI double to Tucker Barnhart scoring Votto. Hurdle seemed to not want to play around in tonight’s contest and decided to bring in the closer for a one out save. Mark Melancon did just that as he got Scott Scheduler to fly out to right.
A few take aways from tonights game is the fact that Pittsburgh found a way to win without piling on the hits. The found a way to get effective pithing and timely hitting to get the victory. Also, by collecting two more hits tonight, Starling Marte has now recorded a hit in 5 straight games and has a total of 10 during that span. His average now sits at .333 and is tied with Josh Harrison for the team lead.