It was unfortunate that the site was having so many technical difficulties during the Braves/Pirates game yesterday because the game thread would have been pretty lively.
For the first time almost since spring training began, the Bucs’ bats awakened, which resulted in a 6-1 win over the Braves at LECOM Park.
Hey, if people are going to get bummed about the Bucs losing in spring training, can’t we be encouraged when they win?
As it turned out, the Braves’ sole offense was in the first inning, which started when Dansby Swanson doubled off starter Tyler Anderson and at center fielder Oneil Cruz (no, “center fielder” was not a typo). Austin Ryan singled, then Pablo Sandoval did the Panda thing and sacrificed Swanson home.
In the third inning, Kevin Newman, who’d started the game off with a single that ultimately resulted in nothing, singled again. This time, it would result in his coming home on a Ke’Bryan Hayes triple to tie the game. After Jacob Stallings walked in the next inning, Erik González reminded us that he’s still in the infielder mix with a shot over the right field wall to make it 3-1 Bucs.
The Bucs scored in every inning except the first and the last. The fifth inning saw a Newman walk, a Hayes single that would be run by Rodolfo Castro, and a Gregory Polanco double (yes! El Coffee got a hit!) that brought Newman and Castro home. Joe Hudson, who replaced Stallings, capped off the Bucs scoring with a solo homer in the sixth.
A lot of the kids came out to play too. Nick Gonzales, Ji-Hwan Bae, and Mason Martin combined for a pretty DP to end the top of the seventh. Chasen Shreve, who got the win, and David Bednar, in particular, looked good on the mound. Newman is still having fielding issues, and Bryan Reynolds and Colin Moran’s silent bats are getting the wrong kind of attention.
We’ve reached the point where the Bucs should start tightening the lineup a little as the regular season will start within a month. Anderson was the first Pirates pitcher to go multiple innings this ST (for “multiple,” read “two”), and we should start seeing that more. Oscar Marin has already indicated that there might not be a true five-man rotation for the Bucs in 2021, but pitchers should begin making their cases to be on the staff.
Today, the Bucs travel to Clearwater to take on the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. The game can be seen on pirates.com, and if you want to talk about it, here’s the place.