April 14, 2017 – Pirates 4, Cubs 2
April 15, 2017 – Pirates 8, Cubs 7
April 16, 2017 – Pirates 6, Cubs 1
6-6 Record in 2017
The Really Good
Gerrit Cole. Cole loves to pitch at Wrigley Field and he loves to rise up to the challenge and compete against the best. Cole picked up his first win on Friday and limited the Cubs to 2 runs over 6 innings with 5 strikeouts. His velocity average with the fastball is currently the highest it has been in his career which is a great sign that he is, in fact, fully healthy this year. The Bucs need Cole to lead the rotation this year, and his start in Chicago was a great step towards that.
Jameson Taillon. I could rave about everything little thing Taillon does during every start because he just seems to do everything perfect. We knew the Sunday match up between Taillon and Jon Lester was going to be a great pitching duel and it definitely lived up to the hype. 6 strikeouts for Jamo over 7 innings. He would’ve kept the Cubs off the board completely Sunday had it not been for a Jordy error that led to the only one allowed (unearned). But he pitched a huge 7th inning getting out of a jam that could’ve blew the game open for the Cubs and gave the offense a chance to come back and earn him his first win of 2017.
Adam Frazier. He’s hitting .343 on the year right now and is going to give Hurdle no choice to find ways to keep him in the daily line up. His approach at the plate is amazing. His short, compact swing provides him the ability to hit for a high average and he has great discipline. Frazier had a great opposite field double in the 8th inning on Sunday that was able to move Jaso from first to third and led to the first run of the game for the Pirates and also started the 3 run inning. He also hit a mammoth 430+ foot home run in the 9th inning Sunday to increase the Pirates late lead to 5 runs and give the bullpen some breathing room. His defense is shaky, but his hitting ability will outweigh it.
The Not So Bad
Tyler Glasnow. The stat line from the box score isn’t beautiful or really that great, but there was a ton to love from Glasnow’s second start of 2017 that should have fans encouraged for what has yet to come. For starters, I loved the change up. He threw it maybe once or twice, if that, in his first start against the Reds, and followed that up by throwing it constantly. He trusted it and trusted his command with it. The movement was incredible and generated a ton of swing and misses. He would go to the change up when he was behind in the count and was trusting it for a strike in 2-0 and 3-0 counts. It sat around 89 mph and paired great with the 97 mph fastball. The curveball was moving like crazy and was a great knockout pitch. He had 7 strikeouts and 2 walks in 5 innings. Much better than 5 walks in 1.2 innings. He was hitting his spots which was a great sign. A few mistakes were made like the belt high fastball ball to Kris Bryant, but for the most part, he limited hard contact. The best way this kid will develop will be right where he is in Pittsburgh. You won’t get to face better hitters or gain better experience than pitching every 5 days in the Major Leagues. Lots to be excited about with him.
The Very Ugly
John Jaso. Last year when Jaso was the every day first baseman for awhile the Bucs would almost always go to Sean Rodriguez in late innings as a defensive replacement around the 7th inning or so. This year, Jaso seems to be the guy that will often replace Josh Bell late in games to sure up the defense. Jaso isn’t a bad defender by any means, and Bell is still learning, but my goodness Jaso is struggling with the bat right now. He hasn’t recorded a hit yet in 2017. You could say it’s largely due to the lack of every day at bats, which is probably true, but the guy who is known for his OBP and great ability to hit for average has looked awful at the plate. He did draw some nice walks that led to the late inning comeback in Sunday’s game, but you would think that you’re better off getting Bell more at bats late in the game than handing it over to Jaso right now. Plus, any additional work Bell gets in the field the better.
This was an awesome series sweep. Bucs head to St. Louis next for 3 games with the last place Cardinals.