The Pirates lost the game and the series on Sunday as Jose Fernandez out-dueled Gerrit Cole in a battle of terrific young pitchers.
Cole had an impressive outing. He gave the Bucs seven innings, allowed just four hits and two walks, and struck out a career-high eight. He looked at ease for the most part and wasn’t challenged much, but still ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. That’s because the Marlins managed two singles and a sac-fly after a one out walk in the fourth to plate two runs, tying the game. And in the sixth, Cole allowed a homer to the one dangerous hitter in the Miami lineup: Giancarlo Stanton. The young outfielder (who has been the subject of lots of irrational trade rumors – he’s not going anywhere) had a great series and was only retired twice all weekend–so he had as many homers as outs.
Stanton was not the most impressive young Marlin on this day, though – that was Jose Fernandez. The all star 20 year old righty was simply brilliant and struck out thirteen, with no walks. It was a brutal day for the offense outside of Russell Martin, who returned to the lineup with two hits and a walk. Martin helped the Pirates jump on Fernandez for two runs in the second inning, but Jose completely shut things down after that and you could tell the Bucs were in trouble once they lost the lead and fell behind. Fernandez was efficient despite all the strikeouts and went eight innings. The Marlins are bad, but they could not ask for a better pitcher-hitter duo to build around, and that was on full display this weekend.
Losing a series to the Marlins is obviously a disappointment, but they definitely didn’t look like the worst team in the NL this weekend (and they haven’t been, lately….they’ve got the best record in the NL East since the end of May, and have played well at home this month). Still, the series reiterated a constant concern for the Pirates – the offense. Miami’s pitching was impressive but the Pirate bats still need to get going, and there would be no better time for that to happen than in this week’s series against St. Louis.
Marlins 3, Pirates 2 / Box / 2013 Record: 61-42 / Next: Monday, vs. Cardinals, 7:05