When times get tough, the tough get going, or so the saying goes. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, it’s certainly been a tough stretch these last few weeks.
Things didn’t get any easier, as Felipe Vazquez
single-handedly blew a three-run lead, giving up five runs in the bottom of the ninth as the St. Louis Cardinals walked off in top fashion Thursday night, serving up a gut-wrenching loss for the Pirates.
What a response Friday night by the Pirates, though.
Times were tough, especially after Thursday night, and Friday’s response said quite a bit about the Pirates’ mental makeup and resolve. Sure, things haven’t been going well, but this team isn’t going to roll over and die in the middle of a tough stretch.
They’re going to keep fighting pitch to pitch, and that was never more evident than on Friday night.
After allowing 11 earned runs in his last 17.2 innings of work, Taillon looked like the future ace that he’ll develop into, holding the Cardinals to just three hits, all of the soft variety, striking out six and walking just one, showing full command of the zone on the steamy night in St. Louis as he lowered his ERA to 3.97 on the year.
With Taillon dealing on the mound, guys like Frazier, Cervelli, Polanco, and
Dickerson were able to carry the offense on the night, combining for six of the nine Pirate hits on the evening, as well as two of the four runs batted in, and three of the four runs scored.
In the midst of 3-8 stretch over the final two weeks of May, Thursday’s awful lost could have been the final blow to a promising start to the season for the Pirates, but once again, this team never quits.
That’s why they’re the Battlin’ Buccos.
While there will be times like the last two weeks of May where the Pirates seemingly can’t get out of their own way, they’re always going to have responses like what we all saw on Friday night.
Now, it’s all about building off of the all-around performance
from last night. It’s up to Chad Kuhl
to match Taillon’s performance on the mound, and the offense to stay hot on the road.
If the Pirates can get on a roll here, it should allow them to create some breathing room in a tough month of June, in which they’ll face three teams with records over . 500, and two others teams within three games of .500.
June will be a big test for the Pirates and their pursuit of a playoff appearance.