The Pirates got some very good, and very welcome, pitching and blanked the Yankees’ subs and prospects, 3-0. Several key pitchers bounced back from rough outings.
Check the end here for a couple notes from the minor league scrimmages at Pirate City.
Starter Johan Oviedo had an especially timely rebound. He did a 180 and came out throwing strikes, in the end 31 of them on 41 pitches. He also went very slider heavy and the pitch was effective. No walks, two hits and three strikeouts over three innings.
Jose Hernandez and Colin Holderman also bounced back and also threw strikes — remarkable what that’ll do. Hernandez threw seven in nine pitches, which when you’re throwing 96-97 mph with a good slider is tough. He fanned two on sliders and got a line drive out. Holderman, throwing his usual 97-99, also had a 1-2-3 inning with two Ks.
Carmen Mlodzinski continued to look like the guy-who-comes-out-of-nowhere. The Pirates seem to agree; two weeks ago I’d have guessed he’d be in minor league camp by now. He went through one inning allowing just a single, then got the first out in the next inning, so there seems to have been some very specific number of pitches they wanted him to throw (18). Mlodzinski fanned two and continued to miss bats with a 96-98 mph fastball. Gameday had him throwing a cutter and a sweeper. I can’t tell them apart, but they both look unpleasant if you’re a right-handed hitter.
Dauri Moreta finished Mlodzinski’s second inning, giving up a hit but getting a double play.
Wei-Chieh Huang and Cody Bolton finished against the Yankees’ substitute substitutes. Each threw a scoreless inning and fanned two. Huang got in some trouble, with second and third and one out, but got the two Ks. The first was called on a v-e-r-y slow curve. Bolton had an easy inning.
The offense came all at once. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds hit back-to-back home runs in the third, Hayes’ with one on. They were Hayes’ second and Reynolds’ first of the spring. Hayes later hit a 108-mph bullet that caromed off the pitcher for a line drive double play, so his thumb appears to be fine.
On the job competition front, Canaan Smith-Njigba went 2-for-3. He’s hitting 294/429/294, which continues his pattern of showing good patience, hitting the ball hard, and not elevating anything. Tucupita Marcano and Chris Owings were each 1-for-3.
Some notes from Pirate City:
Bubba Chandler and Anthony Solometo threw an inning each this morning. I wasn’t there yet, but I was told that Solometo was sitting at 95-96 mph, Chandler a tick higher.
Javier Rivas has been on the field for scrimmages with mostly upper level players, which may or may not say something.
Jack Brannigan has been playing second base at least some of the time, which also may or may not mean much. There’s no indication whether or when Brannigan will start pitching, except it doesn’t seem to be imminent. Most teams preferred him as a pitcher, but the Pirates did not. That may partly be due to his significant defensive ability.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.
Love the updates from Pirate City – keep them coming!
They may have NYY on their unis but get real the limos were not parked outside Leecom.
I wonder if Solometo is pitching more over top in a more traditional way to get more velo ,or was a 1 inning thing.
Nice change of pace for every pitcher to pitch well and NOT get bombed.
Regardless of the level of talent faced, it is the Yankees, and the Pirates needed a positive game. Excellent steps forward by every one of the pitchers in the game. Glad to see the offense come alive for at least an inning.
I am still on the wavelength that Mlodzinski will be one o the SP’s to start at AAA, but he is really making a name for himself as a reliever.
Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining.
We played most of our starters against guys who will have to buy a ticket to get inside Yankee Stadium and people are acting like Maz was reborn.
I explained that in my first sentence, but just about 10 days ago the Pirates were home to the Yankees at LECOM. The Yankee lineup was similar to the one they fielded yesterday, and they beat Mitch Keller and the Pirates by the score of 9-1.
In ST it is a given that the Veterans do not travel. Therefore, when I went down to ST, I highlighted attending the game against the Tigers in Lakeland for two reasons. First, I had never seen Miguel Cabrera in person, and second, I wanted to see the Pirate “kids”. They played very well that day losing by a run in the bottom of the 9th. The kids I got to see were Cruz, Castro, Bae, Endy Rod, Suwinski, Mitchell, Swagg’s, Nunez, Davis, Triolo, Lolo, Gorski, and Oviedo.
No matter who was pitching for Yankees, it was great to see Hayes hit another pull side HR.
Certainly lots of things to cause concern this Spring, but Hayes lifting balls to LF, Cruz making consistent contact, Keller looking dominant, and the quality of Bru’s breaking stuff should have even the most pessimistic of fans excited.
The Pirate fans needed to see the positive performances of five pitchers I hope will make the trip North at the end of ST – Oviedo, Hernandez, Holderman, Moreta, and Bolton. Oviedo from the Cardinals, Hernandez Rule 5, Holderman from the Mets, Moreta from Cincy, and Bolton, shifted from a SP to a RP.
95-96 for Solometo would be a couple of ticks higher than last year. Pretty impressive for a lefty.
Anthony Murphy’ wish may have come true.
He was 93-94 his last time out. Of course, guys get geared up during ST. I’ve seen that with various guys this spring. It’s just one inning, though, so there’s that.
Over his last three starts of last season, his max velo was 93.2, so sitting 95-96, if true, is huuuuuuge, even if it’s just “spring-strength” or one-inning effort. Just being able to reach those velos with that whippy all-arm delivery would be, if true, super encouraging.
Randy Johnson and Sandy Koufax would like a word with you about that last sentence.
That’s pretty good company to have. But I’d argue Randy wasn’t all arm, he was just so damn tall you couldn’t tell that his lower half was planted and providing the power source.
Yeh, but they didn’t play for us. Now Sudden Sam did late in his career.😃😃
Not to mention home-towner “Sudden” Sam McDowell from Morningside and Central Catholic HS.