The Bucs played a solid game and earned a much needed win on Monday night, but they may have suffered a big loss as well.
Wandy Rodriguez got off to a pretty good start and the Pirates’ early lead seemed to be in good hands with him on the mound. In the third inning, though,Wandy walked off the mound and started doing all kinds of stretches, clearly feeling something wrong in his left leg. The Bucco training staff came out and worked with him for quite a while, eventually determining that he should come out of the game. The Pirates statement says he strained his left hamstring and will undergo further evaluation tomorrow.
Losing Wandy would be a significant problem for the Bucs. They’ve already got rotation depth issues and were really counting on him to be a steady and reliable guy that can deliver 6+ solid innings every 5 games. Rodriguez has a strong track record as a durable starter and he didn’t appear to be in excruciating pain, but we’ve seen injuries like that turn in to some very long DL stints and/or cause problems after the player returns. Hopefully it was just a bad cramp or something like that, because it’s tough to envision the rotation holding up without Wandy.
After Wandy departed, Jeanmar Gomez came in and had some problems – which you’d expect, because he’s Jeanmar Gomez. The D-Backs tied the game and the outlook was not good with the early offense seemingly wasted and six more innings for the bullpen to cover.
But hey, there was early offense! Starling Marte led off with a hit for the third straight game, and Andrew McCutchen doubled him home. And as promised…
I’m bringin the “Z” back…stay tuned
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) April 8, 2013
…he did the ZOLTAN. Yep, it’s back.
The return of the “Z” twitter.com/rtjr/status/32…
— Brian McElhinny (@rtjr) April 9, 2013
The Bucs added two more with contributions from some of the worst hitters so far this year; Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez walked and Travis Snider singled up the middle. The D-Backs eventually tied it up off with two runs charged to Wandy (one unearned) and another off Gomez, but Jeanmar pitched a scoreless fourth to keep the game tied.
Starling Marte struck again in the sixth, lining a 1-out triple down the line. Neil Walker was hit by a pitch and McCutchen drove in the run with a sac-fly to give the Bucs the lead back. The bullpen then did an absolutely wonderful job making it stand up. Justin Wilson was probably the player of the game. He tossed three spectacular innings (no hits, no walks, two strikeouts) and really impressed in a surprisingly long outing. I’d like to see him pitch in some more big spots – this was the first appearance since Opening Day for the young lefty known for spectacular stuff (but questionable control).
Garrett Jones pounded a solo shot for some insurance, but the Bucs wouldn’t need it. Mark Melancon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and Jason Grilli notched a painless save in the ninth.
Pirates fans took over the pool beyond the outfield fence at Chase Field.
Russell Martin was 0-for-3 and is still hitless. BUT, he picked up a stolen base…so he now has more stolen bases than hits.
The Pirates scored a season high 5 runs but also struck out a season high 12 times
Pirates 5, D-Backs 3 / Box / 2013 Record: 2-5 / Next: Tuesday, at D-Backs, 9:40