The 2015 Major League season is only a week old and already the game is in full swing. Something can be said for Spring Training and it’s usefulness but at the same time, differing on contracts or injuries sometimes the season can sneak up and get the best of you.
Case in point was last Monday, Opening Day for all major league teams but Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals who had played the day before. On that day Milwaukee pitcher Kyle Lohse was dismantled by a hungry Colorado Rockies squad to the tune of 10 hits and eight runs. Today the Winter’s rust seemed to have been fully knocked loose as he went 6.1 innings tossing 91 pitches, 60 for strikes. Lohse, 36, had five strike outs and gave up eight hits with four runs, but don’t let the line fool you. Until the 6th inning he was humming with a sinker/ slider combo that was painting every corner. A hanging slider and a curve that just don’t quite tail off did him in though at the top of the 6th. Gregory Polanco took advantage of the first and nabbed himself a two-bagger. Jordy Mercer took a hit-by-pitch next and then came Andrew McCutchen. A three-run shot to right-center field put the Pirates up and at that point there was no looking back as they tacked on six more runs, three coming off a home run by Neil Walker in the 9th inning before the game closed out.
McCutchen, 28, has been recently bothered a sore left knee since Spring Training which kept him out of yesterday’s 6-0 loss. I asked him if he was still feeling it: “It’s gonna be an everyday occurrence for me for who knows how long, but I can battle through it. I’m not gonna make that a huge issue for myself.. Just gonna go out and play the game. I know that my 80% is pretty good.” Another writer mentioned in jest, “Wait until you’re my age” to which he replied, “Hey man, this game.. it will catch up to you, ya know?” After the game Pittsburgh Manager Clint Hurdle was asked about his All-Star right fielder, “McCutchen showed up big, the home run to stretch things out. To have to come out of a game, take a night off and come back in and drive a ball right of center field and pick up another RBI. He never ceases to amaze me.”
As far as Pittsburgh pitching is concerned, they can be happy with the efforts of their rookie pitcher Casey Sadler, who has his first start of 2015 this afternoon. Sadler, 24, had three pitches in his repertoire (fastball, slider, curve ball) and utilized them all with better-than-rookie accuracy. He tossed 71 pitches (51 for strikes) and his only mistake of the afternoon was giving up a towering 2-run homer to Carlos Gomez in the 3rd inning. After the game Sadler had this to say when I asked about the difference between tossing in Triple-A as compared to the Majors: “It’s different, it’s not difficult. I’ve been starting in Triple-A anyway. It’s nice to come up and start on your normal day. Just be able to go out and give the team a chance to win.” When asked if it was satisfying to get in a groove he said, “Yeah. To come back out after giving up the one home run and throwing up a couple of zeros. It gave the guys the ability to say, okay, lets put together a couple more runs.”
Milwaukee’s (1-5) next game is tomorrow on the road at St. Louis (3-2.) Pittsburgh (2-4) on the other hand heads back to Pennsylvania for their home opener versus Detroit 6-0.).