The Pittsburgh Pirates entered this afternoon’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs coming off a successful road trip, beating the Philadelphia Phillies in three straight games. As has been the case all season, though, inconsistent play once again reared its ugly head, and the Pirates stumbled their way to a 6-1 loss at Wrigley Field.
Through the first few innings of this game, it really looked like a slugfest between two pretty bad baseball teams. Errors and missed opportunities dominated the first few innings, and pitch count was an issue for both starters from the onset today. Trevor Williams, falling to 3-4 on the season, lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits, while Eddie Butler gave up four hits and three walks in just four innings of work.
After both teams failed to take advantage of opportunities early, the Cubs broke through in the fourth inning with a two out rally. Ben Zobrist singled and scored on an RBI triple by Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo followed with a two run homerun, his 20th, to right field to make it 3-0.
Bryant homered in the sixth to make it a 4-0 game, and after the Pirates scored a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Josh Bell, Chicago answered with two more runs in the eighth on Bryant’s second homerun of the game and 18th of the season.
The lone bright spot for the Pirates today was Andrew McCutchen, who had three more hits, bumping his average up to .295 on the season. The Bucs’ bullpen was shaky once again, as Jhan Marinez was tagged for a run on two hits and Antonio Bastardo gave up two runs on a hit and a walk.
This was certainly not what we wanted to see from the Pirates this afternoon in the opening game of this series. It would have been great to earn a series victory here this weekend heading into the All Star Break, and that is still possible if they win the next two games against the Cubs. It will not be easy, though, as they will have to beat Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester on Saturday and Sunday.
Record vs. Cubs: 5-5
Record vs N.L. Central: 12-18
Record on the Road: 19-25
Overall Record: 40-47
Let’s Go Bucs!