Notes and quotes from after the game:
Bucs win, but attention turns to Martin's health
The Pirates continued their late-season push for a division championship by defeating the the Reds Friday, 3-1. However, the victory was accompanied by growing concerns over Russell Martin's hamstring.
In the seventh inning, Martin drew a walk after checking his swing on a 3-2 pitch. He immediately slammed his bat into the dirt, aggressively unstrapped his left leg guard and started to jog with a noticeable limp down to first. Before he even reached the bag, Chase D'Arnaud had popped out of the dugout and took his spot as a pinch runner. When Martin returned to the dugout, he tossed his helmet in frustration.
This is the second time in three days that Martin has left a game with hamstring issues.
"I think some days are better than others," Clint Hurdle said of Martin's status after the game. "Today it just seemed to get tougher for him to get it loose. We went as far as we felt we needed to today. We'll see where we go from here."
Worley pitches around nine hits
Vance Worley spread around nine hits in 6 1/3 innings and threw only 72 pitches. He did not give up a walk, and the only he run allowed came on a double-single sequence by Mike Leake and Kristopher Negron.
"He was able to navigate around nine hits," Hurdle said. "He was able to make pitches when he had to in the couple of jams he was in. He pitched a very effective ballgame."
"Today, I just told Russ that we're going to go after guys and make adjustments off the kind of swings they're taking, and their approach," Worley said. "They were taking [the] first pitch and then eventually started swinging at the first pitch, so we started going off-speed on them."
In his last two starts, Worley has been extremely efficient, averaging 10.8 pitches per inning. After the game, the right-hander said his increased efficiency is the result of adjusting his approach.
"There were a couple games where we were trying to go against my strength and go against their weakness, and I found myself falling behind in the count a lot," Worley said. "The last couple starts I just said ‘we're going to pitch from my strengths and take it from there.'"
The play at the plate that the scored the lone Reds run of the evening was close, and Martin waited for the dugout to review the play before throwing the ball back to Worley. The ball was hit sharply to center and Leake is not the fastest runner, but Andrew McCutchen was unable to get the throw home in time. While he has never had a very strong arm, this year McCutchen ranks last amongst qualified center fielders in Fangraphs ARM statistic, allowing 5.6 more runs than average.
Entering the game, baserunners have had 158 opportunities to advance on balls hit to McCutchen, and only 49 (31 percent) have held (league average is 44.7 percent). Moreover he yet to post a ‘kill' (league average is 1.8 percent).
Snider's key hit
With two outs in the eighth, Josh Harrison bounced a 0-2 pitch up the middle for a single. Travis Snider followed with a shot into right field that Jay Bruce had trouble with off the bat before finally slipping at the last second as the ball continued past him to the wall. With one run in, Andrew McCutchen followed with a double into left center that scored Gregory Polanco (who pinch ran for Snider). The Bucs carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth. Tony Watson and Mark Melancon cleaned up the final six outs.
"The ball moved a couple different ways," Hurdle said of Snider's liner. "It had some kind of knuckling effect, because that is a very good right fielder out there."
"Every once in a while you hit the balls on the screws and get the knuckle ball effect." Snider said. As a hitter that's pretty much what you're trying to accomplish. Hit the ball as hard as you can and good things will happen."