I don’t want to say something weird is going on. It’s fairly understandable, actually.
You see Gerrit Cole throw 96 miles per hour and get lit up. You wonder if, maybe, he’s tipping his pitches. But it happens to him again. If everyone else notices something, surely someone on his own team would, too.
Then you see the same thing happen to Tyler Glasnow. He throws 96, 97, regularly, and it just keeps getting sent right back — down the lines, in the gaps, over the walls. It’s a lot easier to see major league hitters are just sitting on fastballs and squaring them up, smoking them even, routinely.
And, for all the success Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has had — it’s been well deserved and it’s been well documented — his greatest asset, Cole, has regressed, and he really has his hands full with Glasnow.
The Marlins whacked Glasnow around like Cole the night before, except worse. In four innings Miami smacked 10 hits off the tall right-hander, and converted those into seven runs. The final score read Marlins 12, Pirates 7, but the Bucs didn’t have much of a chance.
Glasnow’s issue, suddenly, is that he’s become too hittable. After being just plain wild, falling behind hitters and bleeding baserunners, he’s around the zone a little too much, and hitters are pretty comfortable with it.
Strangely, there’s a little reason for optimism in there. I’m really not trying to reach, but it’s there. You see a Glasnow done in by wildness and you see a Glasnow done in by being a little too easy to hit; surely there’s a way to meld those two into an effective — heck, even dominant — MLB starting pitcher.
But on Friday, the Marlins got downright cozy in the batters box. Four singles in the second brought in two runs. Giancarlo Stanton hit one halfway to the moon (on a curveball, actually) and Tyler Moore hit a two-run homer in the third. A couple more hits and a wild throw on a stolen base brought a couple more runs home in the fourth, and Glasnow left, through four, with a 7-2 deficit.
The rout was on when Wade LeBlanc bled three more runs and Tyler Moore knocked his second homer of the night off Dovydas Neverauskas. The Marlins finished with 18 hits.
The Pirates had 13 hits of their own, taking an early lead and adding a few late when it barely mattered.
Adam Frazier and Josh Harrison hit back-to-back doubles off Worley to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first. The Pirates scored one and loaded the bases in the third, but Andrew McCutchen ended that, hitting into a double play. Down a bunch, the Bucs scored a couple on thanks to a Jose Osuna double and a wild pitch in the fourth.
Frazier doubled Jacob Stallings home in the eighth, and the Pirates got four straight batters on to start the ninth, forcing the Marlins bullpen to squirm a little before the end.
McCutchen went 2-for-3 with two walks. Frazier, Stallings, David Freese and Jordy Mercer also had two hits each.
Tony Watson, no longer the closer, pitched a 1-2-3 low-leverage ninth. You can complain, but he’s going to have to do that, and do it several times, if he’s to ever be a significant bullpen contributor again (or fetch something in a trade).
Trevor Williams, who at least can’t get our hopes up nearly as high as Glasnow or Cole can, goes against Dan Straily in game three of the series Saturday afternoon.