The Pirates had a blowout win over the Padres yesterday, which followed up two soul-sucking losses in which Liriano fell apart and Locke never pitched well enough in the game to fall apart. The series loss to the Padres lost me a beer in a bet that I thought was a surefire win.
The blowout, 11-1 win was keyed by an eight run seventh inning in which it seemed like the Padres just couldn’t get an out. Watching this inning was pretty cathartic for me, personally, as I’ve had a hell of a busy week and only got a chance to sit down and catch a few innings of baseball so far; luckily, this was one of them.
The Pirates brought 14 hitters to the plate and just had the carousel of base hits that we’ve seen a few times so far this season. This offense can really do some damage when it gets rolling, and this inning is proof of that (and also, hopefully, a signpost of what’s to come for these guys). The Pirates have 5 regular starters hitting over .300 right now, with John Jaso leading the pack at .368, collecting two more hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Not only is he consistently hitting game-to-game, he also has 6 multi-hit games during this streak; how did no one want this guy during the offseason?
MVP candidate Starling Marte is also sitting pretty with a .328/.377/.531 line on the season. That seems to be propped up by a really high BABIP of .396, however, so look for some possible regression as the season wears on. Marte has been known to have a consistently high BABIP in the past, though. Marte is still my dark horse candidate for NL MVP this year; if you’ve been paying attention to my rants and raves, you know that I’ve been stumping for him since Spring Training.
Not to be overlooked in the wake of this offensive explosion is the terrific start by Gerrit Cole. Cole looked like his old self, painting the corners with hard fastballs and good movement and throwing 55% of his pitches for strikes.
Seven scoreless innings from him is big given how the bullpen has been getting hosed lately. The rotation has been shaky at times but seems to pull out some good starts when they need them to keep the ship from being totally lost.
The Pirates start a series against the Snakes (as Bob Walk likes to call them) this weekend, with more late night baseball for everyone’s enjoyment. First pitch today is at 9:40pm EDT (6:40pm PDT) and Niese is taking the mound, facing off against a revitalized Patrick Corbin. Niese can keep things rolling personally and get a nice little streak started here for the Pirates. I still don’t like the D’Backs for what happened to McCutchen near the conclusion of the 2014 season; hopefully last night’s offense shows up as well to put these guys away early.