Adam Wainwright was in his bag tonight. Without throwing a perfect game or no-hitter, it is difficult to have a much better outing than Wainwright did against the Pirates in this game. He tossed a complete game on 88 pitches. His mound opponent, Wil Crowe, threw just four fewer pitches over 4.2 innings. Wainwright struck out seven hitters, walked zero, and allowed just two hits. Both came from Colin Moran, one of which was a fluky infield single. If you’re a fan of the game score stat, Wainwright’s mark of 90 would tie him for the 13th best outing of the season. The ease in which he picked apart the Pirates’ lineup sort of reminded me of how easy it used to look for Tom Brady when he’d pick apart the Steelers’ zone defense. Wainwright was in total control. Let’s also not forget that he swatted two hits of his own including a double.
I get it though. The Pirates’ offense isn’t exactly intimidating. As Greg Brown noted during the broadcast, four hitters in the Pittsburgh lineup are inexperienced big-league players (Hoy Park, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Rodolfo Castro, and Anthony Alford). Gregory Polanco and Michael Perez are flat-out bad. We also cannot forget about the pitcher’s spot. In tonight’s lineup, only two of nine hitters posed a real threat against Wainwright (Bryan Reynolds and Moran). Moran had a multi-hit game. At times, the offense made hard contact, but overall, they were overmatched on this night.
On the pitching side, Crowe looked solid over his first three innings as he faced the minimum. In the fourth, he allowed one run on two hits and a walk. The fifth inning was not much easier for him. After loading the bases with two outs, he was replaced by Nick Mears who recorded the final out without any further damage. In total, Crowe allowed one earned run on four hits over 4.2 innings. He struck out four and walked three. In the sixth, Cody Ponce took over. Over two innings of work, he was not impressive allowing three earned runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out one. Chasen Shreve and Anthony Banda each tossed a scoreless frame in the eighth and ninth respectively.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Pirates will attempt to avoid their eighth straight loss and second straight series sweep. JT Brubaker (4-11, 4.95 ERA) will face off against former Pirate Wade LeBlanc (0-1, 3.12 ERA). The game begins at 12:35 p.m.