RECORDS: Pirates 3-6 Cubs 6-3
GAME TIMES: FRI-SUN at 1:20
PROBABLY WATCHING THE PENGUINS: Rum Bunter
Before the season started, I predicted that the Pirates could get back to the coin-flip game, which had become something of their natural home the first three years of its installation. I thought the rotation was better than people were saying, they would hit, and you can always figure out a bullpen. And I still believe all that.
It just hasn’t quite worked out like that so far.
Ok, getting swept at home by the Reds, no matter how they’re surfing the luck parade these days, is not a good look. Your three wins coming against whatever it is the Braves are right now isn’t much better. A bullpen meltdown yesterday for a makeup game in Boston… worse yet. But hey, it’s early.
It’s the top of the rotation, which the Cubs will see, that really hasn’t held up its end of the bargain so far this season, but no one’s made more than two starts, obviously. Cole has struck out only six guys in his first two starts, and has given up eight runs over 11 innings. Glasnow in his one start also got pilfered hardcore. But Nova, Kuhl, and Taillon have been good, which should provide some hope.
Offensively, so far there have been some OBP problems. Marte has one of .317. Cutch is at .308. Polanco .314. Josh Bell is taking every AB like he’s being attacked by bees, and he was pinpointed to help turn around the offense. Josh Harrison never walks anyway, and when his average is down around .259 as it is now he’s just not that effective of a hitter. Only David Freese is hitting, and they’re worried he’ll shatter into dust by having to play third every day because their piece of shit who normally plays there can’t get back in the country because he’s a piece of shit. It’s a team-wide slump, and can’t last forever. One hopes.
Ok, the pen, it’s wonky. We knew it would be. Felipe Rivero, acquired in the Melancon deal, has been pretty good so far. So has Tony Watson, as he usually is. The rest of it has been simply gasoline. But that’s kind of what you might expect from Daniel Hudson, Antonio Bastardo, and Trevor Williams. This is going to have to sort itself out, because especially with Glasnow and Taillon in the rotation, it’s not like they’re going to get marathon mileage from the rotation.
Still, this offense will click. These are better hitters than they’ve shown in the season’s opening 10 days. And the Cards are right down there with them, so it’s not like they’re already clawing back a gap.
As for this series, Cole might have to come up with a different plan than just pumping fastballs over the plate, as they Cubs have seen that for a few years now. When he’s locating perfectly he’s nearly untouchable. When he’s not… The Cubs saw Taillon twice last year, lighting him up in this third career start but being pretty well shut down by him in the season’s last week when they were thoroughly on autopilot.
I still believe, Buccos. I really do. Because I don’t have much else to do.