PITTSBURGH — The Pirates had two switch-hitting rookies manning the right side of the infield on Monday.

One is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound first baseman with 24 home runs after his two-run shot off Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta in the first inning of the Pirates 12-0 win.

The other is a 5-foot-10, 185-pound second baseman, who has three MLB homers after he hit a solo home run off Arrieta in the third inning.

On days when Max Moroff (the second baseman) and Josh Bell (the first baseman) play together, they play a game to see who can have the hardest hit ball. Monday, Moroff won.
The diminutive slugger continues to prove that his power is real, as he topped Bell’s 101.6 MPH home run with both a 102.5 MPH home run that nearly cleared the stadium in right field and a 104.8 MPH double with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

The plan for the Pirates youngsters was to get them to experience the environment of Major League Baseball. Facing the defending World Series champions with an ace like Arrieta on the mound as the Cubs are trying to lock down the NL Central is about as big as it gets in September.

“If you wanted to draw it up, I don’t think you’d go to those lengths to draw it up,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “You’d be happy with a little bit less than that. The results matched the effort. The preparation put into it played out well for us and for them today.”

Bell started things off with a first-inning two-run home run off Arrieta. Moroff followed up with a solo shot in the third. Bell drove in Andrew McCutchen in the fifth and Moroff drove in Starling Marte in the seventh.

Both finished with four RBIs after then things got crazy in the eighth inning, as the Pirates batted around and scored seven runs on six hits. Elias Diaz hit an RBI double to drive in Jordan Luplow, Moroff hit a two-run single, McCutchen hit an RBI single and David Freese capped it off with a two-run homer.

Chad Kuhl threw seven scoreless, striking out eight while walking two and allowing four hits. A.J. Schugel and Dovydas Neverauskas followed to complete the shutout.

Here’s more from Bell and Moroff on their game of one-upmanship as the Pirates trounced the Cubs:

HE SAID IT

“I’m going to wait on the organization to get everything they need in place. I’ve made it clear from the beginning that a contract would work out when it was meant to work out. I love working here. I love working in this organization. I’m proud to be a Pirate. I have been proud to be a Pirate. I’m going to do everything I can, if I get an opportunity to move forward, to bring a world championship to this city. The players in there, we’re in a good place. The staff in there, we’re in a good place. It would be humbling.” — Hurdle on a potential contract extension.

GAME IN GRAPHS

Moroff didn’t just show off his power from both sides of the plate (his homer came from the left side, the double came from the right), he also showed off some plus plate discipline.

QUICK HITS

***Kuhl finally got the Cubs after going 0-4 with an 11.07 ERA in his first six starts against them. Not only did he get revenge against the Cubs, he recorded a career-high eight strikeouts while facing a lineup with seven left-handers. Needles to say, it was a good night for Kuhl. Here’s more on his night and his progress this season.

***Bell continued his career dominance of Arrieta, at least until the latter left the game with one out in the third inning.

After his home run, Bell is now 7 for 14 (.500) with two home runs and two doubles against Arrieta. He has a 1.683 OPS against him.

***Not to be outdone by Bell and Moroff, Jordan Luplow went 2 for 4 with a double a walk and scored a run and Elias Diaz went 2 for 4 with an RBI double. The Pirates four rookie hitters went a combined 10 for 18 with two homers, three doubles, nine RBIs and four runs scored.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Does Moroff remind anybody of former big leaguers? I’m not saying based on ANYTHING but skill set he has. He reminds me of the skill set of an Aaron Hill. There was a time that man was killing the ball for about a 7-8 year window, with good, never great defense.
    Once more, before I get destroyed by someone…I’m not saying he’s ever going to be that, but he’s been intriguing to me for a couple of years and was just done dirty by Clint when they brought him up in the middle of that tear earlier this year.

  2. It’s one game but it was an encouraging game. I really hope Moroff turns into a player. They’d be much better next year with a back up second baseman who can actually field the position. Let’s see how they do tonight.

  3. I’m dreaming of a rotation that has Gerrit Cole as it’s 4th or 5th best starter. That is not a knock on Cole, but some high hopes for the young gun wave coming next. Keller, Glasnow, and Kingham will look great with Taillon and Cole. Than leaves them with Brault, Williams, Kuhl, and Holmes as depth options. I haven’t lost faith on Meadows or Newman, and who doesn’t love Cole Tucker. Luplow and Moroff both have pop and make great depth or short term starters if there are
    injuries. Honestly I see the outfield production deciding how good this team is. The Pirates need a healty, productive, and consistent Cutch, Marte, and Polanco if they are to contend.

  4. Anyone else think it was a punk move by Maddon to use a position player when he’s got a battalion of arms in his bullpen?

  5. it’s games like tonight that give me hope for the franchise. if moroff and luplow can produce close to their minor league numbers, that would be two less pieces of the puzzle the pirates need to get.

    shore up the bullpen for next year, have a more productive offense. starting pitching can stay solid, if not better with glasnow and cole *potentially* returning to form.

    one can hope!

  6. I’m convinced Arrieta took himself out of the game in order to not be embarrassed by Bell again.

    14 ABs
    2 HRs
    BA: .500
    OBP: .647
    SLG: 1.071
    OPS: 1.718

    Too bad Bell wasn’t available for the 2015 WC game.

  7. Btw, Josh Bell broke the NL rookie record for switch hitters with his 24th HR. Another huge positive to emerge this year. Good for him, he is a ball player.

    And to think that I wanted him dealt for Quintana in the off season.
    What
    Was
    I
    Smoking?

  8. Glad to see the young guys hitting the ball! Who knew? The only ohfer was by a vet, SeanRod. Combined, the 4 rookies (incl Bell), were 10-18, with 5 runs scored and 9 RBIs.

    Hopefully, our newly minted 4 year manager won’t give them a ‘Golden State Warrior’ rest tomorrow. 🙂

    It also would be nice if our International League Pitcher of the Year, Mr Brault, came out like Chad did and flummox the Cubs.

    • As the saying goes, “Hitting is contagious”. And to be fair, Jay robbed SRod of a hit.

      Personally, the happiest thing for me (besides Bell once again owning Jake) was to see Cutch hit the ball hard down both lines.

      Happy the kids came through, but for all we know at the moment, they could be flashes in the pan like the endless supply of up-and-down guys the Cards throw out there. Hopefully one turns into Tommy Pham (who took 4 years to finally stick).

      • Yes, they may be a “flash in the pan,” but this is why you play them. You have to see what you have and let other teams know what they can do. Not all of them can be kept, but can be traded for needs.

    • The Pirates have me shell shocked with soft tossing lefties. I fear Bault, is next in line after Locke and Neise. But hey, I wish hims the ebst and hope I’m wrong.

    • Starting to look like that power display he was putting on in Indy this year was for real. Got to give him credit, he doesn’t hit cheap homers.

      • I love Frazier, but Moroff is a better fielder and has power, so I really hope that he is for real!

        It’s the same with Luplow. Hard to believe that he started out in ‘A’ Ball.

        • Since Luplow got that first hit the other night he has looked much more comfortable at the plate. And yes, I agree Moroff is a much better defender than Frazier. It’s a shame because I love Frazier. But man, when he in the infield I cringe.

          • This has to be the most I’ve ever commented in one day ever. I now see what a day full of news and beer will do to me.

        • If Frazier could make himself remotely competent defensively, he’d be a heck of a bench bat. He’s a really good hitter. But if that doesn’t happen, and Moroff puts up numbers anywhere close to Frazier’s I’d take Moroff over Frazier for the glove, if the decision was between them.

          • I think the Pirate Minor League Coordinators pushed Frazier to the OF and deferred to Alen Hanson and Max Moroff because they were better infielders, and switch hitters. Moroff is an excellent 2B. And he is playing now like a man on a mission.

            Osuna, Moroff, and now Luplow have turned heads this year with their bats – hopefully that includes the hurdle-head.

    • Moroff is starting to hit. But does he have as much range? Does he have enough range to start next year at 2nd and put J Hay at 3rd?

Comments are closed.