My, but sunrise came quickly today and I might just doze off while blogging. If you have to ask why, then you haven’t yet read this.
Both teams blew out their bullpen’s Wednesday/Thursday in the 16-inning marathon. The Pirates used six relievers, including Stolmy Pimentel, who worked the final four innings for his first big league victory. “A good one to win,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ll figure out the pitching (Thursday).”The clubhouse doesn’t open until 10 a.m. and today’s game notes aren’t out yet, so we’ll have to wait a bit to see what’s what. The Cubs used pitchers in relief. Manager Rick Renteria said Carlos Villanueva (who lost for the second game in a row) could’ve gone another two innings, but Renteria didn’t know what he’d do after that. Fortunately, it never got that far. Rain is in the forecast today. No one ever really wants a rainout, especially so early in the season, but this might be a good time for one. Everyone’s throwing arm could use some rest.
>> The Pirates are 2-0, but the offense has been slow to rev up and last night’s struggles by the back end of the bullpen — Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli each allowed a run, which send the game into extras — are troubling. The teams combined to go 4 for 28 with runners in scoring position. That’s putrid, but the Cubs were especially ugly. They went 1 for 16 last night/this morning and are 1 for 27 with RISP over the first two games. “What I’m taking away from these 26 innings is that we’re fighting pretty good,” Renteria said, searching for some upside. “And that’s what our intention is. As long we’re not quitting … I’m seeing signs that we’ve got a different mentality and we’re not going to give up. Ultimately, if we continue to put pressure on the opposition and maintain some consistency in that approach, we’ve got a chance.”
>> Keep on eye on this: Charlie Morton looked solid through six innings, blanking the Cubs on four hits. He threw 84 pitches and would’ve gone deeper in the game, but took a line drive off his left thumb. “He had to leave the game,” Hurdle said. “He couldn’t (work his thumb to) close his glove.” X-rays were negative and Morton will be re-examined today.
>> Someday, perhaps soon, the Pirates will tell us exactly what’s up with Jameson Taillon‘s sore right elbow. Taillon talked freely about the injury when it first flared up, but management gave him a gag order after he got a second exam Monday.
Game 3: Cubs (0-2) @ Pirates (2-0), 12:35 p.m. PNC Park
Cubs: 1. Emilio Bonifacio cf, 2. Starlin Castro ss, 3. Justin Ruggiano rf, 4. Anthony Rizzo 1b, 5. Junior Lake lf, 6. Mike Olt 3b, 7. Darwin Barney 2b, 8. John Baker c, .9. Jason Hammel rhp
Pirates: 1. Starling Marte lf, 2. Travis Snider rd, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Travis Ishikawa 1b, 7. Tony Sanchez c, 8. Jordy Mercer ss, 9. Wandy Rodriguez lhp
– Rob Biertempfel