Found April 04, 2013 on
The Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t complete a ninth-inning comeback in their 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs and it there was a sense of déjà vu to the game.
Russell Martin went 0 for 10 at the plate in the Pirates’ first three games. Photo credit: David Hague
Much like in the Opening Day loss, the Pirates got a strong outing from its starting pitcher.
James McDonald allowed just two hits and one run in seven innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen.
“I was happy with the way I competed. Every pitch meant something to me,” McDonald said. “I went out there and went straight after guys and did OK.”
McDonald struck out four and gave up two walks and at one point retired 11 consecutive batters until walking Brent Schierholtz in the seventh. The bullpen — which had yet to allow a hit and a strong point for the team in the first two games of the season — let up two more runs that gave the Cubs just enough breathing room as it turned out.
James McDonald froze Alfonso Soriano with this pitch in the seventh inning. GIF by James Santelli – Pirates Prospects
“I’m really happy for (McDonald) individually because he got a chance of really playing up for us,” Hurdle said. “Big picture, you want your team to win. If you can’t win, for James McDonald to go out and throw seven innings like that and one run — we couldn’t have hoped for much more than that. he was very, very, very good today.”
Just like in the Opening Day loss, the Pirates provided nearly no offensive backup for their pitching staff — at least until the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol gave the Bucs a glimmer of hope before ultimately coming up short.
Pittsburgh managed just one hit — a Clint Barmes double in the third inning — prior to the ninth inning. By the time the team put together any offense it was too late. Andrew McCutchen played a big role in that ninth inning rally with an RBI single. He struck out twice earlier in the game, and stole two bases.
“We had the opportunity. We didn’t get the job done. Good teams get the job done, we’ve just got to learn from that and do better next time,” McCutchen said. “It’s not like we’re getting killed 15 to nothing. The games are close there’s just a couple key things we’ve got to do. We’ve had the opportunity to win, we just didn’t get it.”
Today was a travel day for me as well. I’ll have more notes and insight from Thursday’s game looking forward to Friday’s road game Los Angeles (which James Santelli will be covering) tomorrow.
BEST OF MAXIM
Can James McDonald be more like the first half pitcher from 2012? (Photo by Mark Olson)
Last night James McDonald got off to a great start for the 2013 season. The right-hander pitched seven innings, giving up one run on two hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. McDonald didn’t always look as good as the stat line. In the early innings he looked a bit shaky, but the Cubs didn’t...
Last season the Pittsburgh Pirates finished last in the National League with 73 stolen bases. Andrew McCutchen led the club with 20 stolen bases, but that was down from 23 in 2011. So far this season, McCutchen has two stolen bases in as many games and said being more aggressive while on base has been a point of emphasis for him entering the 2013 season.
Andrew McCutchen has two...
Russell Martin is one of three hitters who have hit second in the first four games. Photo credit: David Hague
At the end of Spring Training, the Pittsburgh Pirates started using Garrett Jones as a number two hitter. I wrote about the topic during the final week, and noted that Clint Hurdle said the team was also looking at Neil Walker, Russell Martin, and Travis Snider as other options...
TOP OF THE SYSTEM
A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the pre-season rankings, and links to each prospect writeup can be...
Today is Opening Day for the 2013 Minor League Baseball season. All four full-season Pirates affiliates play this evening, and the starting pitchers can be found on the daily schedule. This week we’ve been previewing the four affiliates who will be starting their season, along with some analysis for each level of the system. The links to all of those write-ups can be found below...
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle addressed the status of several of the team’s injured pitchers prior to today’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
Francisco Liriano threw off a mound yesterday and Charlie Morton threw a simulated game today, Hurdle said.
“All our guys are making progress,” he said.
Jeff Karstens is still nursing an inflamed right shoulder. Hurdle said...
Yesterday was Opening Day of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates minor league season. All four full-season affiliates opened their schedule last night and all four ended up on the losing end. Tonight marks the season debut for top prospect Gerrit Cole, but he isn’t the only interesting pitcher going today. Nick Kingham and Clay Holmes will also get their first start today, they were...
Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the Pittsburgh Pirates' Brunch Burger: It is an egg, bacon and sausage sandwich with sprinkled donut buns, and it is glorious.
AJ Burnett pitched well and lost in the first game of 2013. Wandy Rodriguez pitched well in the second game and won. The most important pitcher in the rotation for the season's first two months is not Burnett, nor is it Rodriguez. It's today's starter, James McDonald. McDonald had a Jeckyll and Hyde 2012 season with an All-Star worthy first half and a brutal second half...
Jonathan Sanchez allowed only one walk in his Pirates debut, but gave up six hits.
Jonathan Sanchez could not close the strong opening act he provided in his Pirates, and with no help from the punchless offense, the Pirates lost 3-0 at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
The Buccos’ left-handed starter surprisingly commanded the strike zone well, but was charged with all three runs...
Starling Marte was called up to the Pirates in July of 2012. The young outfielder finished the remainder of the season in Pittsburgh. Playing in 47 games, Marte hit .257, he smacked five home runs to pair with six triples, three doubles and 12 stolen bases. Marte told PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko through an interpreter that he hopes an offseason of hard work pays off this season.
Cubs (1-0) at Pirates (0-1)
7:05 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
The Bucs look to break into the win column tonight as they take on the Cubs in the first night game of the season. Attendance will certainly be down quite a bit compared to Monday, but the team is trying its best to attract fans by maintaining this annual tradition:
Coming down to PNC tonight? Remember...
Jeff Locke will make his season debut Sunday at Dodger Stadium
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished their opening series against the Chicago Cubs in disappointing fashion losing the final game 3-2. The Pirates bats have yet to really wake up as they combined to score a total of 6 runs in the 3 games against the Cubs. However, the pitching has been there, as Pirates pitching only allowed...
I know that this is a bit of a leftover from the really bad times of being a Pirate fan, but whenever the Pirates start out the season 0-1 there's a voice in the back of my head that says, "If the Pirates can't win this game, they might never get to .500 again!" I don't really think that's true this year (nojinxnojinxnojinx), but the voice is still there...
The list of things that I don't really understand in baseball is infinite, but somewhere near the top of it is this: the veteran pitcher who's out on the mound and not quite pitching like himself, but still has things so completely under control that you never really doubt him. That was Wandy Rodriguez on Wednesday night against the Cubs. Rodriguez is mostly a ground ball...