INDIANAPOLIS – The weather is going to be around freezing for the first pitch in the Pirates’ season opener on Sunday, and they had a chance to get used to that weather in the final Spring Training game in Indianapolis on Saturday. The winds were howling, creating tough conditions, and the Pirates followed suit, appearing flat all around in the 13-6 loss.
For Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, the result of the game was not important, it was about getting out healthy and ready for opening day,
“We want to represent and honor the fans here, and the fan base,” Hurdle said. “It’s really nothing about the game. We want to get our guys a couple of at-bats to tune up for tomorrow.”
The one offensive bright spot was a first inning bomb by David Freese, who was hitting in the three hole behind Andrew McCutchen. Freese took the 3-2 Alfredo Simon offering and hit a rocket, line drive homer over the centerfield wall. It was Freese’s second home run of the short, impressive spring with the Pirates, where he had a .913 OPS coming into the game.
The lineup was what you’d expect on Opening Day, with John Jaso batting first, followed by McCutchen, Freese, Starling Marte, and Francisco Cervelli. They were followed by Gregory Polanco, Josh Harrison, and Jordy Mercer in the 6-8 spots. However, the starters left the game after three innings. With the season opener just 24 hours after the exhibition game, this was to be expected.
“This was a really good idea when the season was starting Monday,” Hurdle said of the game. “And then Major League Baseball backed us up to play Sunday, it became a little more challenging. It’s still a great opportunity.”
In addition to Freese, Jason Rogers knocked a two-run double, his second of the spring, in the fifth inning. Rogers concluded the competition with Pedro Florimon and Cole Figueroa on Saturday, and made a nice final impression with the drive. However, Rogers also committed an error in the field in the contest.
In the sixth, Florimon picked up a single, but Figueroa put a damper on the rally with a double play. To make matters worse, the next hitter, Max Moroff smacked a two-run shot. The Moroff blast cut the deficit to three, but that was as close as the Pirates would get.
On the mound, matters were much worse. Wilfredo Boscan started the game and allowed eight hits and eight runs in 2.2 innings. Jim Fuller allowed a hit, but got the final out of the third. Curtis Partch took over and allowed two hits and a run in his two innings of work. Jorge Rondon worked two innings and allowed four hits and three runs. A.J. Schugel retired the final two hitters and Spring Training was in the books.
After the game, Clint Hurdle said the team wouldn’t be making their final roster moves until Sunday morning, before their season opener against the Cardinals. The Pirates still have two cuts to make, with one of Cole Figueroa, Pedro Florimon, or Jason Rogers making the bench. They also need to officially announce Kyle Lobstein to the bullpen.