The Pirates could not overcome Juan Nicasio‘s struggles tonight, dropping the second game in its series in Texas by a score of 5-2.
- In a night with not many positives for he Pirates, utility man Cole Figueroa had a decent showing for the black and gold. Figueroa made the start at second base for the Pirates. He went 1-for-1 with a RBI single and a walk. Figueroa also stole a base for the Pirates, providing a spark for the otherwise stagnant offense. His RBI tonight was his first recorded RBI of the season.
- It has been well documented that the Pirates bullpen has been shaky, at best. However, a positive tonight was A.J. Schugel‘s performance in relief of Nicasio. Schugel pitched 1.1 innings in which he did not give up a hit and struck out one. The Pirates are looking for someone to lock up a role as a reliable middle reliever and Schugel took a small step towards that tonight.
- Juan Nicaasio struggled from the start tonight, throwing 36 pitches and giving up three runs in the first inning. Nicasio had trouble finishing off batters with two strikes. This was most apparent in Adrian Beltre‘s at bat in the first inning. Nicasio threw eight pitches to Beltre before he served up a two-run home run on the ninth pitch. Nicasio went 4.2 innings for the Pirates while giving up four runs on seven hits, including two home runs. He also struck out four.
- The Pirates couldn’t figure out Rangers’ starter Yu Darvish in his first start since August 2014. Darvish fanned seven Pirates. Overall, the Pirates struck out 11 times in the game, with John Jaso, Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli recording multiple strikeouts. Figueroa was the only starter not to record a strikeout against Rangers’ pitchers. The Pirates have done a good job avoiding the strikeout bug so far this season recording the seventh least strikeouts as a team in the league.
W- Yu Darvish (1-0)
L- Juan Nicasio (4-4)
Line of the Night- Yu Darvish went five innings tonight, giving up one run on three hits and striking out seven. As stated before, this was Darvish’s first start since August 2014 because of Tommy John surgery. Darvish also controled his pitches well, giving up one walk in his five innings.
Up Next- The Pirates will look to win yet another interleagiue series in the rubber match against the Rangers. Pittsburgh will send Francisco Liriano to the mound for the Sunday afternoon game. Liriano is coming off of a game in which he lacked control, giving up five free passes to the Diamondbacks. However, even with the five walks, Liriano gave up one run in the Pirates’ 12-1 rout of Arizona. The Rangers will send Martin Perez to the mound. Perez is a srikeout pitcher who is averaging over two strikeouts per inning throughout his first 60 innings of the season. In his last start, Perez went 6.1 innings against the Blue Jays giving up one run on five hits.