By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner
MIAMI — After the Pirates wasted Gerrit Cole’s gem and lost, 1-0, to the Cubs on Tuesday, I poked my head into Joe Maddon’s postgame presser. This part jumped out at me: “One of those nights. We always talk about you’ve got to win 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 to win championships. So, we’ll take it.”
Last season, the Pirates were 20-12 in one-run games. This year, they are 5-5. It’s going to get worse, unless the defense improves — dramatically — and the Pirates find a way to score more runs.
Five worst run differentials: 1. Padres -37 2. Royals -33 3. Pirates -27 4. Giants -19 5. Blue Jays -17
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 27, 2017
New Stat of the Week: The Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far https://t.co/nD2abd6YC5
— John Dewan (@FieldingBible) April 25, 2017
>>> In some ways, it’s a little bit amazing the Pirates (9-12) are as close to .500 a they are. Before this week’s roster shuffling brought about by Antonio Bastardo’s conveniently timed quad injury and the hamstring injuries to Adam Frazier and David Freese, the Pirates had essentially been playing with a 23-man roster. Bastardo was so out of sync he could not in pitch when a game was on the line, and Alen Hanson was buried on the bench. What’s more, the club has just two bona fide outfielders and no backup shortstop.
>>>Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports figures that at this point, the Pirates are closer to being sellers than buyers in July. It’s a valid point.
Inside Baseball: ranking the potential deadline sellers from definite (chisox) to long shot (giants); plus notes. https://t.co/2Cyt7zUi8g
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 28, 2017
>>> Poor Tyler Glasnow. Earlier this week, when talking about the bullpen, manager Clint Hurdle kept stressing he needed a long reliever available on Wednesday because Glasnow was scheduled to start. Talk about a vote of no confidence, eh?
Turned out, Hurdle was right. Glasnow lasted only 3.1 IP vs. the Cubs and threw 89 pitches. He’s made it through five innings just once in four starts this year, including 1.2 IP vs. the Reds on April 10, 5.0 IP vs. Cubs on April 15, and 4.2 IP vs. the Yankees on April 21.
>>> Through his first four starts with Triple-A Indianapolis, RHP Drew Hutchison is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. He’s averaged 3.8 walks and 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings. His scheduled to make his next start on Sunday.
>>> Gerrit Cole’s second annual “Uncork for a Cause” will be held June 11 at Sienna Mercato in the Cultural District. The event will benefit Pirates Charities and The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh and also will serve as a release party for Cole’s 2014 Sonoma Reserve red wine. Click on this link for ticket info.
>>> The Pirates broke out their beach gear for their chartered flight to Miami. Hawaiian shirts and shorts were mandatory, but the memo also cautioned “no open-toed shoes” on the plane. Maybe they’re saving the Penguins jersey theme for after the Pens knock off the Capitals in round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Johnny Tsunami is the greatest Disney athlete. He went through the most adversity & came out a two-sport SUPER STAR. This is for you 🏂🏄🏻😤💯💯 pic.twitter.com/Bm1zdlLdAo
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) April 27, 2017
>>> You want links? I’ve got a grand total of … one:
John Jaso muses that perhaps he “have played basketball” to Trib reporter Jerry DiPaola
>>> Purely for entertainment purposes, non-scientific Twitter poll results:
Do you agree with commissioner Manfred that MLB has "the best drug (testing) program" in pro and amateur sports?
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) April 25, 2017
>>> Friday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Josh Harrison 5, Jordy Mercer 6, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jose Osuna 9, Josh Bell 3, Gift Ngoepe 4, RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 2.13) 1
Marlins: JT Realmuto 2, Martin Prado 5, Christian Yelich 8, Giancarlo Stanton 9, Justin Bour 3, Marcell Ozuna 7, Derek Dietrich 4, Adeiny Hechavarria 6, LHP Adam Conley (1-1, 3.00) 1
Gamecast: Ngoepe will make his first MLB start. … Taillon has never faced the Marlins. … Conley has made 44 career appearances, but has faced the Pirates just once before. On June 1, 2016, he held the Pirates to two hits over six scoreless innings in a 3-2 victory. … Conley has allowed one run in three of his past four starts. … The Marlins went 6-1 vs. the Pirates last season. It was their first winning record against them since 2011, when Miami went 6-0. The Marlins’ .584 winning percentage at home vs. the Pirates is their second-best mark against any NL team. … Marcell Ozuna has 21 RBI, which is tied for second most in the majors. … Marlins outfielders have combined for 18 homers and 51 RBI in 19 games.
>>> UPDATE 4:50 p.m. – David Freese said his right hamstring discomfort “is still there a little bit” today, but has not yet ruled out being available off the bench for tonight’s game vs. the Marlins.
Freese hit in in the indoor cage this afternoon. He also planned to take some grounders during batting practice (which has not yet begun as I type this). “I need to see where I’m at after that and we’ll go from there,” Freese said.
Freese said he strained his hamstring during Monday’s game vs. the Cubs. “I missed first on my hit down the line. I was trying to decide where I was going to go, based on (Ben) Zobrist’s throw, so I missed the bag, then planted (my foot), stopped an tried to get back and tweaked it a little bit.”
Freese’s name is on the lineup card posted in the clubhouse. “My name is on there, so to the Marlins, I’m available,” Freese said with a smile. “We’ll know more later.”
>>> Saturday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Ivan Nova (2-2, 2.00) Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 3.92)
>>> Sunday: Pirates at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) Marlins: RHP Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.14)
>>> Monday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.60) Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25)
>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98) Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.