This is how the Pirates/Braves series was supposed to go. Jeff Locke gave the Pirates a nice and easy seven innings, with the Pirate lineup put a perpetually puzzled look on the face of Mike Foltynewicz over his three innings of work. Combined, that let the Pirates sprint out to a 5-0 lead and stay well ahead for the rest of the night.
The Pirates really did fluster Foltynewicz. On a few occasions in the second inning, he made pretty good pitches that the Pirates turned into hits and runs, and the look on his face the whole inning said, “I have no idea how to get these guys out.” I’m thinking of Andrew McCutchen’s two-out, full count, RBI single on a 98 mph fastball in on his hands, which was immediately followed by Gregory Polanco somehow hitting an 80 mph curve over the North Side Notch, despite the pitch being well off the plate outside.
The final event of note tonight was Wilfredo Boscan’s big league debut. Boscan was called up three times last year when the pitching staff was stretched thin, but he never threw one pitch in black and gold last year. He pitched tonight, though, and he threw two shutout innings behind Locke, striking out two and only allowing one hit. He’s pitched really well in Indy’s rotation (31 strikeouts and only four walks in 40 innings) in 2016, and even though it’s only the Braves, any strong relief appearance does not go unnoticed.
The Pirates are 22-18. If you remember, last year’s 40 game mark was pretty much the low point of the season. The Pirates fell to 18-22 after an uninspiring sweep at the hand of the Twins, they’d lost six of seven, and they were nine games behind the Cardinals. 22-18 and 6 1/2 back doesn’t feel great, but it could be worse.
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