After last night’s indulgence in weird baseball, today’s game was comparatively tame. I thought there was the possibility for a hangover from the late travel to Colorado, but the Bucs showed no signs of that and cruised to a 6-1 win over the Rockies on the backs of Jeff Locke and Matt Joyce.
I said in my series preview earlier that Jeff Locke was pitching for his spot in the rotation, and he showed up and lives to fight another day. Whether or not that’s a good thing will be dependent on his next couple starts, but Locke looked decent, painting the corners and taking advantage of a very generous strike zone from home plate umpire:
This is the Jeff Locke the Pirates needed to show up. I just worry that this reprieve from relegation to the bullpen will be brief and may even cost the Pirates in the long run if Locke pitches the way he did in some of his earlier starts.
The offense did their thing again, getting runners on base and bringing them home. Matt Joyce added some power to their game, hitting a two-out, opposite field three run homer in the seventh to give the Pirates a pretty big cushion. This cushion allowed A.J. Schugel to enter the game for Rob Scahill in the bottom half of the seventh and remain in the game for his first career save (under the save criterion whereby he entered the game with the tying run on-deck). Schugel is quickly becoming a pretty reliable bullpen arm and will team up with Jared Hughes upon his return to handle the mid inning duties when the Pirates have a lead.
The Buccos give it another go in the mountains tomorrow, when Gerrit Cole makes his first ever start in Colorado. Opposing him on the mound for the Rockies will be Jorge De La Rosa, who enters the game coming off both the stomach flu and a start against the Reds in which he only pitched 2+ innings. De La Rosa seems like someone the Pirates’ lineup can do damage against and I fully expect them to win another one.