Sights & Sounds from Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training – Opening Day Eve

As the winds carry stormy weather through the Midwest to the Northeast, the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training struggles with wind followed them to Indianapolis.


Part way through the game, someone at Victory Field felt it would be advisable to remove the flags from the flag poles in the outfield.  The poles were bending under the tension the wind was exerting on the flags, and after all, safety first.  Safety first sums up the thoughts from the first half of the game, but before we dive into all that, here are the starting lineups from today’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Wilfredo Boscan, who is destined to be part of back of the Indianapolis Indians starting rotation and could be a candidate for a spot start if needed in April or May, made the start.  He was removed after 2.2 innings after allowing eight runs (five earned) and eight hits.  He walked two and struck out four.

The wind wreaked havoc all game long on the Pirates, but it also had an effect on the Reds too.  It’s highly unlikely a line drive rocket by David Freese needed any help, but it did give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

The Pirates put a preview of their opening day lineup on the field, and, hopefully, they got all of their struggles out of the way today.  Starling Marte overran a fly ball and was slow to get up after the dive.  Gregory Polanco was caught watching a fly ball into the right center gap that neither he nor Andrew McCutchen could get to in time.  John Jaso tripped over the mound trying to field a pop up.

The real storyline was watching the competition for the Pirates final bench spot.  At this point the competition is down to Cole Figueroa, Pedro Florimon, and Jason Rogers.  Figueroa is not on the 40-man roster, and Rogers has an option remaining, which presumably gives Florimon the inside track.

Who’s the backup at third base until Jung Ho Kang is healthy? I don’t know, but Rogers helped his cause today with a two run double in the fifth inning.

Rogers also struck out to end the game and committed an error in the fourth inning.  Historically, he has been a below-average defender at third, but he is a good defender at first and the corner outfield positions.  It is that position versatility that has kept him in the race for the final bench spot for so long.

Florimon went 2-2 at the plate in his only two at bats, which permitted some comedy as he wrapped up a rather successful spring.

Figueroa went 0-2, which hurts him if Clint Hurdle, Neal Huntington, and their advisors are subject to the recency effect.  After he hit into a double play in the bottom of the sixth, Max Moroff bailed him out hitting a two run homerun.  Moroff is one of the players that could be pushed to the bench or even back to Altoona in a crowded Indianapolis infield.

Following the 13-6 loss to the Reds, the Pirates turn their attention to the St. Louis Cardinals and returning to chilly Pittsburgh and the friendly shores of the Allegheny tomorrow at 1:05.

Today, the Cardinals got a jump start taking in some batting practice down at PNC Park.


That’s a wrap for spring training.  Starting tomorrow, the chase for the Central will be underway.  Today also marks the conclusion of our Sights & Sounds series for the year.  We hope you’ve enjoyed it.  We have some new features to provide you with analysis and opinions starting tomorrow, but we don’t want to spill any secrets just yet.  You’ll have to find out what they are by stopping back to see for yourself.


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