After a short playoff run out of the Pirates last year, they bounce back this year with a new fire. Some new guys replace old ones, but these Buccos keep finding ways to win! Over the off-season, they lost Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Joakim Soria, Antonio Bastardo, Travis Ishikawa, Travis Snyder, Joe Blanton, and J.A. Happ all to either trades or Free Agency. We also lost Aramis Ramirez and A.J. Burnett to retirement. Even with all the loss, they still were able to beat the St. Louis Cardinals and their ace Adam Wainwright, 4-1.
In the first game of the three game series, Francisco Liriano tied a Pittsburgh Pirates opening day record by striking out 10 batters. He gave up only three hits and five walks in his six shutout innings. He also helped himself by hitting in an RBI on a base hit single. David Freese had two hits against his former club after the Pirates picked him up to try to replace the injured Jung-Ho Kang at third base. Gregory Polanco also had two hits to help the Pirates offense to four runs.
In the second game of the 3 game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals, the pirates were able to jump out ahead with a quick 2-0 lead. This was after Gregory Polanco tripled in Francisco Cervelli, and then Josh Harrison grounded out to shortstop while Polanco scored. The Cardinals retaliated the very next inning with two of their own runs. In the fifth inning, the Buc’s were down 5-3, but they came back to tie the game after scoring McCutchen and Freese. There was no action for the next 5.5 innings, but that changed very quickly when Jordy Mercer stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 11th inning. With runners at first and second, Jordy Mercer hit a base hit to score Gregory Polanco, and win the game in walk off fashion.
In the final game of this three game series between the Pirates and Cardinals, the Pirates shocked their rivals with a first series sweep. The pirates were able to beat the Cardinals all three games of the series. In this final game, the Buc’s jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Their starter, Juan Nicasio only gave up one run on two hits through six innings pitched. He also walked none and struck out seven. On the offensive side of things, McCutchen scored in the first on a bases loaded walk. Then in the fifth, John Jaso got a triple and then scored of a throwing error. Cervelli then doubled to score Marte and Freese. Rodriguez later doubled to score Mercer just to add to their lead.
The Pittsburgh Pirates start off their season by sweeping their rival the St. Louis Cardinals. After losing a lot of big faces from last season, this new crew showed that they can not just hang, but still be the best. The pitching was questionable too, but after their Ace Garret Cole didn’t start this whole first week, Liriano, Niese, and Nicasio all filled in big by pitching three strong games and allowed their offense to get the win.So even after all the off-season worry, it looks like our Pittsburgh Pirates are going to still have a good chance at being “Top Dog” this season.