The afternoon after tying up the series with an 8-1 win, today’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a hot and fast beginning.
The Dodgers took an early 2-0 lead in the first. Pirates starter Mitch Keller had runners on second and third with two outs, when David Peralta singled in both runners for an early 2-0 lead.
The Pirates offense didn’t wait around long to counteract the early deficit. In a 1-2 count, Tucupita Marcano decided to lay down a bunt single, when Austin Barnes threw wide of first base for a leadoff little league triple (single with two-base error). Bryan Reynolds then worked a full-count before singling in Marcano, followed by an Andrew McCutchen single that put runners on first and second. Reynolds and McCutchen perfectly executed a double steal, and then Rodolfo Castro hit a deep sacrifice fly to score Reynolds and tie the game at two. Not entirely done, Jack Suwinski plopped a single into left field to score Cutch and give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
From there, it turned into a pitcher’s duel. Both Keller and Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias settled in, and put on a display. Keller, looking to make a case for his own extension talks, diced up the Dodgers hitters. He’d allow only three singles the rest of the way, finishing with five hits against, two earned runs, and a walk to go with ten strike outs across six innings.
Knowing no lead is safe, the offense continues to make the case that these first 26 games of the season are no fluke. They were hitless after their three-run first inning, until recent slumping Connor Joe decided he wanted to wear the new celebration jacket in the sixth inning. Joe crushed a slurve 399 feet for a two-run home run to left field, after McCutchen drew a one-out walk.
After seeing how good Joe looked in the jacket, Castro blasted a fastball 414 feet to left center for a solo shot and back-to-back homers for a 6-2 lead.
aaaaand Castro joins the fun 🙌 pic.twitter.com/kub0alIaNu
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 27, 2023
The bullpen had it from there, and never looked back. Duane Underwood Jr. (1.1 IP, 1 K), Jose Hernandez (0.2 IP, 1 K), and David Bednar (1 IP, 1 K) shut the door, not allowing a single baserunner across the final three innings to seal a 6-2 victory.
The Pirates move to 18-8 on the season, and will head to Washington D.C. for the weekend.
Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.
I thought that was a great move by Shelton letting Underdog face one batter in his second inning and then bringing the lefty Hernandez in to face Freeman.
The pirates look like a pretty solid baseball team. I go into games these days expecting the pirates to be the better team. If the pitching continues to pitch like this, then I expect them to win the division.
In January the pirates were 80/1 to win the division, After the game today they are at 8/1.
After watching the Dodgers play, I’m kind of wondering if they would actually win their division. Seems their depth is…being tested. On the other hand, the Pirates look like they’re definitely better than what people expected – which is a low bar, but still!
They had to play their best game of the year to win one, so . . . .
This was a good test. The Dodgers are having some problems in the rotation lately – the Bucs missed their two best starters in Kershaw and May, but Urias got knocked around his previous two starts, Gonsolin was on a pitch count and Syndergaard is alternating quality starts with disasters – but scoring 21 runs against anyone anywhere is noteworthy. More impressive, at the plate LA is still pretty damn good. They’re riding their patience and power to the 8th or 9th best hitting in the league, depending on your preferred measure. So to limit them to 11 runs in a 3-game series says a lot.
Every series, the “floor” of the outlook for the season rises a little. Not just for the wins that have already been banked, but for what this team brings to the park no matter the opponent.
Almost makes me forget the travesty of putting together a thoroughly noncompetitive team the last 2 years on purpose.
Let’s hope seeing Termarr Johnson and Dylan Crews pictured with a WS trophy or three will help ease the pain associated with the last couple years.
Termarr’s having a nightmare of a game tonight. Botched three plays in the field, including a two-run error on an extremely easy play that has the Marauders down by one. 0-3 at the plate, and got picked off second representing the tying run in the 8th.
Flags fly forever, brother. White Sox got theirs in 2005, Cubs in 2016, and the city of Chicago can hibernate for another 100 years.
Mannnnnn this team looks good. It’s strange that they don’t play anyone in the division in May, & don’t play the Brewers until mid June. Let’s hope they keep rolling
Good to see the Pirates playing their best and second best games of the season following their heartbreaking loss!