First Pitch: Exhibition Season 2.0 Opens Up Tonight

Tonight is the first exhibition game of Spring Training 2.0, as the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Cleveland Indians at PNC Park at 7 PM. It’s been just over four months since the Pirates played their final Spring Training 1.0 game on March 12th and lost 7-5 to the Toronto Blue Jays, who sent over a split squad that day in Bradenton. For those who don’t remember, the Pirates were awful this spring, posting a Major League worst 3-15 record. Sorry for the reminder.

It’s a new slate though, with three games scheduled for this abbreviated Spring Training, all of them against the Cleveland Indians. There will also be games on Monday night (in Cleveland) and Wednesday night back at PNC Park. Then two days later, the shortened 2020 season starts in St Louis.

During the original Spring Training, Gregory Polanco was the best hitter for the Pirates, putting up a 1.185 OPS in 27 plate appearances. Bryan Reynolds had a 1.149 OPS in 29 plate appearances. Cole Tucker was at 1.054 in 31 trips to the plate. On the opposite end, Jake Elmore was the worst hitter and he’s no longer around. Luke Maile had a .375 OPS, while Guillermo Heredia was at .449 and Jarrod Dyson had a .508 mark.

On the pitching side, Edgar Santana had five appearances without a base runner. That’s five more appearances than he will get this season due to his 80-game suspension. Richard Rodriguez, Nick Burdi and Michael Feliz all pitched well, while most of the rest of the pitching staff did poorly. I’m not going through them by name, there are quite a few who had an ERA of 6.00 or higher. They were 3-15, what did you expect?

We will post a Live Game Discussion article later tonight right before the game starts. Please stop by and join us for some Spring Training 2.0 action. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and broadcast on both 93.7 FM KDKA and the Pirates radio network.

**We will have at least four (make that five) articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – One of the best games of Ralph Kiner’s career

Game Rewind – A look at the best game from Doug Drabek during his Cy Young season. While you wait, check out our latest Game Rewind, which has more Waners than you are used to. It also has links to all of the previous Game Rewinds. Not a dud in the bunch.

1979 Season Recap – Pirates stats leaders going into the second half of the season.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. Opening Day is just six days away.




John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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