Photos and Analysis From Last Night’s Pirates Win Over the Brewers

Over the past weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates were swept in a three game series by the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the first series loss of the season for the Pirates, and dropped them to .500. Last night the Pirates returned home to face the Brewers in a new series. This time around they won 11-2, thanks to four home runs and strong pitching from Edinson Volquez. Here is a photo recap from last night, with some thoughts on a few of the key players. All photos are from our photographer, David Hague, and you can see the rest of his shots on his Facebook page.

The Pirates got on the board in the first inning when Andrew McCutchen hit a two run homer, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead. It was the first homer of the year for McCutchen. He currently has a six game hitting streak, and a .970 OPS during that stretch. That could be a sign that his early season slump is over. McCutchen had a .661 OPS in his first ten games.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

Edinson Volquez had another strong start, pitching seven innings and giving up two runs on eight hits, with a walk and three strikeouts. So far, Volquez has a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings, which is very “Francisco Liriano 2013″ like. However, his xFIP is 3.63. Don’t expect him to continue looking like an ace, but the way he’s pitching right now means he’ll be a great starter for the rotation if he continues.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

Russell Martin provided his usual strong defense behind the plate, catching a foul ball near the back stop, and throwing two runners out in two stolen base attempts.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pirates and Brewers were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, when Josh Harrison pinch hit for Volquez. Harrison showed bunt a few times, then switched to swinging away with a 2-2 count, and ended up launching a two run homer, scoring Jordy Mercer.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

In the eighth inning, the Brewers brought in Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang, who was drafted from the GCL Pirates. Wang was hit hard in only his second outing of the season. It remains unlikely that he will stick with the Brewers over a full season. He’s got some nice upside, touching as high as 95 last night, and sitting mostly 93-94 with his fastball. However, it’s very difficult to make the jump from the GCL to the majors. I think Wang could be a mid-rotation starter in the majors one day, but he’s going to need actual development time in the minors, especially in full-season ball.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

Gaby Sanchez was the first batter Wang saw, and greeted him with a solo home run on the second pitch thrown.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

After the Pirates added two more runs on hits from Jose Tabata and Russell Martin, Pedro Alvarez broke things open with a three run blast off Wang.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

One of the reasons Wang probably won’t stick, outside of performance, is that the Brewers are getting good production from their other left-handers. Former Pirate Zach Duke is one of those lefties. He came into the game last night and got two outs to end the seventh. Another former Pirate, Tom Gorzelanny, should come off the DL by the end of the month, giving the Brewers four lefty relief options. That could force Wang off the roster.

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

Zach Duke (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Shark Tank came on to close out the game. Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Bryan Morris retired the side in order to close out the 11-2 win in the ninth inning.

Mark Melancon (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Mark Melancon (Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

#RaiseIt

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Homegrown Bucs

    I am glad to see your analysis of last night’s game here! I understand that you have decided to move away from concentrating much time on the big club. I will just put my two cents in – over the past two years this site has basically become my exclusive source of everything Pirates. I have moved away from visiting other outlets, because when I do check out those sites on occasion, I haven’t found much that you don’t cover better – both prospects and the major league team. I do respect your decision, and it may help to explain the lack of an Annual this year. I have the ’13 Annual and Prospect Guide and ’14 Prospect Guide. Do you have any prior Guides or Annuals around that can be purchased? Looking forward to the new shirts in larger sizes too! Keep up the incredible work, and hope you change your mind about the amount of time you spend on the big club. It really does add a lot to your already awesome site! Thank you.

    • Monkshot

      Is this what you’re talking about in terms of big league coverage? Because yes, I dig it. Taking blocks of games and giving us insight such as this is understandable. I was under the impression there was going to be little to none in terms of big league coverage. Like the above poster said, I didn’t want to go anywhere else for coverage. This site has everything a real Pirate fan needs, I even find the majority of the comments well written and thought out.

      • http://www.piratesprospects.com/ Tim Williams

        This is part of it. I’ve done this a few other times for home games. It’s not really a traditional game recap, but it does recap a few key moments, while pointing out important details and showing a lot of photos from the previous night. It’s also something that takes less than ten minutes to put together after watching the game, and I feel is more entertaining than a traditional recap.

        But when I talk about our overall big league coverage, this isn’t what I’m talking about. There will be a lot of big league coverage this year. We’re just starting slow because of a few format changes, and also because of the recent lengthy road trip.

        • Monkshot

          That’s for taking the time to explain. I understand now, and I’m sure it will be as successful as the rest of the site.

  • smurph

    It apperars the Brewers will be contenders if they can keep their key players healthy. If that’s true, then it makes absolutely no sense for your 25th player to be a young pitcher who should be pitching in Hi A ball. Seems very short-sighted to me. With a lot of veteran players, and very little in their farm system, the future does not look bright for this team.

  • smurph

    It was a non-save situation, but is Bryan Morris making a case for him being a part of the closer solution?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    Given his recent past and his performance during Spring Training, who would have thought Volquez would be our best SP through the first 3 weeks of the season – without anyone being a close second?? I hope he proves me wrong and performs well all season. But, guys like Cole, Morton, and Liriano need to step it up. We have no chance this year, if those three do much pitch well.

  • Monsoon Harvard

    MLB Trade Rumors site just reported that Pirates have acquired Ike Davis from Mets. Any news on this yet?

    • Monkshot

      Yeah, it’s confirmed.