Found April 03, 2013 on
On Opening Day the Pittsburgh Pirates offense could not get anything to go right, spoiling a 10-strikeout performance by starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. Wednesday the team got another stellar performance from its starting pitcher and this time the bats did just enough to push Pittsburgh to their first win of the season.
Wandy Rodriguez allowed just two hits in 5 2/3 innings and got the win in the Pirates’ 3-0 victory against Chicago. Photo: David Hague
Wandy Rodriguez allowed just two hits and struck out six Chicago Cubs in 6 2/3 innings while Andrew McCutchen, Gaby Sanchez and Starling Marte each drove in runs in the Pirates’ 3-0 win.
“The fastball had a lot of life — a lot of late life,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He stayed aggressive and worked fast. Threw the strikes and the breaking ball was a good pitch for him again tonight.”
Pittsburgh got on the board in the third inning after Garrett Jones reached first on a single and was promptly brought around to score when McCutchen smacked a stand-up double into the left field corner. McCutchen came in to score when Sanchez hit a bouncing ball that reached the outfield after Cubs’ shortstop Starlin Castro could not come up with the backhanded grab.
Chicago threatened in the seventh when Rodriguez hit Anthony Rizzo, gave up a single to Alfonso Soriano and hit Wellington Castillo to load the bases. Rodriguez then battled with the Cubs’ Brent Lillibrige, and after having trouble locating his fastball he threw a backdoor curveball in a full count that crept over the outside of the plate for the third strike on what would be his final pitch of the game.
When asked about his final out, Rodriguez said (through a translator) that when catcher Russell Martin came to the mound he asked him what he wanted to throw and he said the breaking ball because of his trouble locating the fastball.
“He’s a pro. That’s a pro’s pitch,” Hurdle said. “No kid’s going to throw that pitch.”
Tony Watson came in to relieve Rodriguez and got Alberto Gonzalez to pop up to end the inning.
Pittsburgh added an insurance run in the seventh inning. Clint Barmes led off with a ground rule double and was moved to third on a Watson sacrifice bunt. Marte then slapped a ball into the outfield for his RBI before being caught attempting to steal second base.
The Pirates bullpen hasn’t just been good through two games, it’s been great.
The relief pitching was one area that was thought to potentially be a strength of the club this season, and in 5 2/3 innings of work so far this season the unit has not allowed a hit.
Jason Grilli, new to the role of closer in 2013, earned his first save of the season emphatically with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.
Asked if he was particularly nervous in his new role, he admitted that his heart was probably beating a little faster than normal but that he is used to facing the heart of the order when he comes into games.
“It’s something I can definitely get used to,” Grilli said. “This has been some kind of journey for me. It’s hard to even iterate in a short little sentence or sum up for you guys. It’s something I know my dad has always said he wanted to do in his career and I’m doing it at the big league level. I always thought I was capable of doing it, I just finally got the chance.”
The Pirates and Cubs will close their three-game series today with James McDonald scheduled to make his first start of the season for Pittsburgh. McDonald, as most of you certainly remember, had a less than stellar second half of 2012 and was roughed up last weekend in an exhibition game against Altoona.
Asked if he thought the solid performances from Burnett and Rodriguez in the first two games could rub off on McDonald, Hurdle said it was possible but “time will tell.”
“The first two guys have pitched extremely well,” Hurdle said. ”James will get the ball tomorrow and we’ve talked before about things being contagious in this game and sometimes you’ll see that good starting pitching can be contagious as well. We’ll see tomorrow.”
First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 from PNC Park. Left-handed pitcher Travis Wood is scheduled to start for the Cubs.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
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...
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...
The 2013 minor league season begins on Thursday. In the days leading up to the opener, I will be previewing the full season affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here is a look at the 2013 Indianapolis Indians, who will feature top prospect Gerrit Cole on their Opening Day roster.
C – Tony Sanchez
1B – Matt Hague
2B – Ivan De Jesus Jr.
SS – Jordy Mercer
3B – Jared...
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...
Gregory Polanco (left) and Alen Hanson (right) will try to repeat their 2012 seasons at the next level, and eventually try to make the successful jump to the upper levels.
Today I previewed the 2013 Indianapolis Indians and Altoona Curve. Tomorrow I’ll go over the Bradenton Marauders and the West Virginia Power. In writing the previews, there’s one thing I noticed about the talent...
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...
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...
Chicago Cubs (1-0, 1st in NL Central) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (0-1, T-4th in NL Central)
Game Time: 7:05 ET (Tickets)
CHC – Edwin Jackson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
PIT – Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Historically, Wandy Rodriguez gets out of the gate fast. He has a career 2.95 ERA in the month of April. He also went 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Cubs...
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...
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...
Former Pirate minority owner Jay Lustig gave an interview to the Tribune Review in a story that was published late last night in which he gave some perspective on Bob Nutting's reign as owner of the Pirates. I'd recommend reading the whole thing, but the key passage is this:
“If you are a small-market franchise, if you want to win, you have to be willing to lose...
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...
Last night was a good night to be a Pirates fan. Two hits! Shutout! Scoring more than a run! Frankly I can’t think of too many awful things from last night. As you guys know, when a Pirates fan has very few awful things to talk about it was a good game. One awful thing…