That’s on me. I questioned Gerrit Cole in the preview, and of course he went out there and kept the Cubs at bay. It’s probably not a good sign when Clint Hurdle is pushing Cole to 120 pitches in his third start of the year. Or Rivero needing 26 pitches to escape the 8th, with the closer Tony Watson prepared to come in and throw two innings. Maybe that’s how desperate the Bucs are for a win.
Strange today, in that you’d probably pick Zobrist near the top of the list to come up with runners on late in a game. You know you’re going to get a good AB, he’s not going to chase, and chances are he’ll hit it hard somewhere. After a good battle he struck out against Rivero. But Watson gave him another look. Which he hit right at somebody. Just as Russell did in the previous inning. The BABIP Dragon… is a wicked bitch goddess.
-Hendricks wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him, just as he wasn’t in his first start. Too many pitches catching too much of the plate, and getting through Polanco and Cutch a third time proved too much. Both those pitchers were more up than he would have wanted.
-And then there’s Justin Grimm. Joe has used just about everyone to act as a foam to put out any fire in the middle innings. We’ve seen CalJu do it, Strop do it, and Montgomery. Grimm was able to do it on Monday, but it didn’t go so well today. Cervelli doubled off a fastball that was right down the middle, and though it was at 96 it can’t be there. The pitch Freese singled on wasn’t all that bad, off the plate. Again… the dragon… she bites hard.
-Heyward ended up getting on-base, but I thought it was curious that he was allowed to see Rivero in the 8th. Heyward still hasn’t really proven he can handle high-velocity yet, and both Almora and Contreras were on the bench. Not that Contreras did much in his AB anyway.
-Willson’s 34% K-rate so far isn’t exactly pleasing to the eye. Neither is his 54.4% contact rate. Good thing the season’s only two weeks old.
-Well, Glasnow and Taillon are going to have a hard time matching Cole, so things should be all right for the weekend.