Welcome to Pittsburgh Pirates Highs and Lows. Every Monday, I am going to look back on the week that was for the Pirates and give you my best and worst moment.
Major League Baseball can often feel cold and emotionless. There are a lot of statistics that make up this beautiful game. However, sometimes, there are weeks that are filled with emotional highs and lows. This previous week will undoubtedly stick with fans for a long time.
The week began with a two-game series sweep over the Chicago White Sox. Both games featured the Pirates coming back from a 4-0 deficit. The second game saw the Pirates score four runs in the top of the ninth to beat the White Sox 6-5. Somehow, that wasn’t even the most emotional part of the week.
Once the Pirates returned home, so did the former face of their franchise. Andrew McCutchen and the San Francisco Giants came to town.
Most weeks, game two of the White Sox series would easily be the best moment of the week. However, most weeks, Andrew McCutchen doesn’t make his return to Pittsburgh. The former MVP soaked it all in during his first at-bat on Friday.
The team did their part by playing two tribute videos for the returning superstar. The fans, however, were the real stars of the show. McCutchen received a thunderous ovation prior to every at-bat. Andrew McCutchen did a lot for baseball in the city of Pittsburgh and the fans definitely didn’t let him forget it.
The Pirates also won the series against the San Francisco Giants, which is probably the most important takeaway from this past weekend. The Pirates played two fairly solid baseball games on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game was especially impressive as the bullpen did an excellent job in relief of Jameson Taillon after he exited the game because of a laceration on his hand. Rarely in life do best case scenarios play out but I would say this series played out perfectly. The Pirates won, McCutchen played well, and got to enjoy his moment. PNC Park also saw its biggest crowds since Opening Day.
If this series was your first taste of the 2018 Pirates, hopefully, you come back for more. The team may not have Andrew McCutchen anymore, but they have several talented young players that play the game the right way. They are also having more fun than in the previous two seasons combined. This team dances after wins, they wear strange masks and they damn sure post about it on Instagram. The team is loose and fun to watch. They can frustrate you with their youthful inexperience but they can also dazzle you with their multifaceted offensive attack. I don’t know what the future holds for this ball club but I do know it will be fun to watch this team continues to evolve.
Gorkys Hernandez hit a home run against the Pirates. That alone should be one of the lowest lows. The one home run Hernandez hit is one more than he hit in the entirety of his brief Pirates tenure. No disrespect meant to Gorkys Hernandez but his home run was certainly the first gut punch in the Pirate 5-0 loss on Sunday afternoon. However, the lowest low of the week came in an 11-2 victory.
Jameson Taillon was cruising through his first few innings of work on Friday until he was removed from the game prior to the fourth inning. A finger laceration isn’t the most serious injury but it’s certainly something that could linger for far too long.
Taillon has had a string of bad luck in his brief career and while this is relatively minor on the scale, it is still very frustrating. By all accounts, Taillon is a good man and an obviously talented pitcher but if he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. When Taillon was removed from the game, I am sure Pirates fans everywhere were holding their collective breaths.
A finger laceration likely won’t keep Taillon out of action for too long but he is this team’s ace and one of the young leaders on the team. Furthermore, Taillon deserves a break. The kid has been through enough during his entire professional career. Hopefully, the laceration is minor and Taillon will be back on the mound sooner rather than later.