3 up, 3 down: April 10-16
3 UP: After being swept in two of the first three series of the year, the Bucs jumped back to .500 by earning three comeback wins against the Cubs’ bullpen over the weekend. Last year the Pirates were just 1-8 in Wrigley and 4-14 against Chicago overall. The Cubs were only swept at home once last season (June 20-22 against the Cardinals).
After a slow start, McCutchen caught fire this week, posting a .321/.345/.607 slash line and recording a hit in each game. He also homered twice, passing Barry Bonds for 4th on the franchise’s all-time list with 177. He still trails Roberto Clemente (240), Ralph Kiner (301) and Willie Stargell (475).
With the bullpen being taxed hard early in the season, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow and Gerrit Cole all made extended outings to save the relievers. Glasnow’s 99 pitches Saturday was a career high, as was Taillon’s 108 in his seven inning gem Sunday. Cole muscled through 114 pitches through six innings Monday, which is the second most in his career (June 7, 2015).
3 DOWN: Though the week had a happy ending, it had a horrid start against the Reds. The Pirates went a combined 0-24 with runners in scoring position that series and were outscored 22-5.
The first inning was a nightmare for Glasnow in both of his starts this past week. Against Chicago Saturday, Cubs’ hitters recorded a cycle and four runs before the inning was over. Things were worse against the Reds Monday, walking four consecutive batters in a three run frame.
Antonio Bastardo’s continued to struggle in the early going, allowing five runs and a dinger over 2.2 innings this past week. He has now allowed three home runs and walked five in his first four innings, resulting in a 20.25 ERA.
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK: The Yankees will be making just their fourth trip ever to Pittsburgh this weekend. The previous appearances were in the 1927 and 1960 World Series, and a 2008 interleague series where the Bucs took two of three.
Ivan Nova’s spot in the rotation will be due in the Yankees’ series finale Sunday. It would be the first time he faced the team he spent all of his major league career with before being traded to the Pirates in August.
Before the Yankees, the Pirates travel to St. Louis with a three game series against the Cardinals. The Cards are struggling early, starting the year an NL worst 3-9. The Pirates are missing Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright’s spot in the rotation as well.