A split squad means two things: 1) A lot of young guys, mixed in with some familiar faces, 2) Double the fun because who doesn’t love two Pittsburgh Pirates games going on at once! Unfortunately for the Pirates and their fans, this afternoon did not turn out as they had hoped as our Buccos dropped both games.
As the home team at LECOM Park in Bradenton, the Pirates fell to the Detroit Tigers 8 to 4. Derek Holland got the start in this game and immediately gave up a home run to Jacob Jones. He quickly settled down and struck out the next three Detroit batters. Will Craig tied up the game on a sac fly in the bottom of the first, but in the second inning, Holland gave the lead right back on two doubles, with two more strike outs in between.
The Pirates charged right back in the next half inning with back-to-back double by Socrates Brito and a flip of the wrist shot by the 6’7” Oneil Cruz. JT Riddle first hit of the day scored Cruz and the Pirates had their only lead of the day in either contest. The next couple of innings were quiet for both teams. Rich Rod came in to pitch the bottom of the 5 after Keone Kela’s three strike performance in the fourth and couldn’t seem to get things going. He gave up three hits and a run on a Derek Hill homer before finally retiring the last batter of the inning.
Sam Howard did not fair much better in the top of the 6 as he walked the lead-off batter and gave up the go ahead run on a double to the next batter. Then the wheels totally fell off as Robbie Erlin gave up a three run jack in the top of the 7 to put the Pirates down 7 to 3, which would turn out to be an insurmountable deficit.
The Pirates got one run back in the bottom of the eigth thanks to Jason Delay, Travis Swaggerty and Cal Mitchell. After this, the stage was set for the Riley Greene show began as the young man hit a towering home run off of Nicholas Ecomonas and made an amazing catch off the bat of Rodolfo Castro, essentially sealing the deal in the Tigers defeat of the Pirates.
At the same time all of this was all transpiring the Pirates game with cross state rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies was over as soon as it began. Trevor Williams’ 2020 spring training got of to a less than stellar beginning to say the least as he gave up 4 runs; including 3 hits, a hit by pitch and a walk.
The Pirates got 2 runs back on a couple of singles by Jose Osuna and Phillip Evans in the top of the third. In the top of the sixth they pulled within one as Jake Elmore’s double to center field scored the speedy Jared Oliva, who had earlier reached base on a single to left field. This capped the scoring for the game for either team. In the top of the eighth and ninth the Pirates attempted to mount rallies, but unfortunately both fell short. In the eighth, Lolo Sanchez led off the inning with a double, followed by a Chris Sharpe single. Sharpe was caught stealing at 2 and Sanchez was ultimately stranded. In the ninth, Ji-Hwan Bae walked and Deon Stanford singled with one out, but a pop out and a called third strike on Mitchell Tillman ended the game.
Notes and Takeaway:
Pirates vs. Tigers:
- Derek Holland was super hot and super cold. 5 Ks, 3 Hits (1 HR) and 2 ERs in 1.2 innings.·
- Steven Brault pitched a clean inning. 3 up 3 down.
- Sam Howard walked 3 and couldn’t seem to find a rhythm.
- Robbie Erlin got shelled in his Pirates debut. 3 hits (3 run homer), 1 BB and 1 K.
- Riddle and Maile each went 2 for 2.
- Moran went 0 for 3, striking out twice.
- Cruz got his first RBI of the Spring with a flick of the wrist, power double to left.
Pirates vs Phillies:
- Trevor Williams - 4 Hits, 4 ERs, 1 BB and 1 HBP. 18.00 ERA in 2 innings pitched.
- 11 hits by Pirates batters, but only 3 runs. Osuna 2 for 3 with RBI.
The Pirates are back at it tomorrow at 6:30 PM against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Chris Archer vs. Gerrit Cole (Pirates Fans might remember this guy!).
Follow Craig on Twitter: @BucsBasement