The Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder, Starling Marte, was injured in a collision with shortstop Erik Gonzalez on Friday, April 19. This injury did not slow down the Pirates as they cruised to a 4-1 record last week in series against the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants.
Marte and Gonzalez have both been moved to the IL, adding to a list of eight other Pirates players recovering from injuries. When Marte went down on Friday, he joined Corey Dickerson and Gregory Polanco on the IL, meaning that all three 2018 starting outfielders for Pittsburgh were injured. Polanco rejoined the team yesterday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The other injured Pirates include Lonnie Chisenhall, Adam Frazier, Kevin Newman, Jose Osuna, and Jacob Stallings. This list does not include Jordan Lyles, but he is also banged up as he caught a line-drive in the hand shortly before Marte and Gonzalez’s collision. Nick Burdi was also injured in the Diamondbacks late-inning blow out of the Pirates yesterday. After releasing a fastball in the seventh inning, he immediately crumbled to the ground holding his arm and in tears.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 23, 2019
The way he reacted, it appeared as if something snapped in his arm. Burdi already went through Tommy John two years ago, so this moment was truly gut-wrenching for everyone watching.
All Things Considered
Despite all of the injuries, the Pirates are off to another hot start. They hold the best record in the National League with 12 wins and 8 loses. They are also tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. Starting pitching continues to impress, and adding Polanco and Elias Diaz back to the line-up adds some much needed offense. This sentiment was very evident before the bullpen imploded on Monday night as Polanco reached in his first two at-bats. In the first inning, he beat the shift for a single, to his delight and the delight of everyone watching.
We should all be this happy when playing baseball. pic.twitter.com/XRCmlBfggt
— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 22, 2019
In his next at-bat, he walked and scored a run off a Colin Moran single. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, he drilled a ball to the right field corner for a double to lead-off. Josh Bell then stepped to the plate.
— Pirates (@Pirates) April 23, 2019
Moran knocked in Bell in the next plate appearance, and the Pirates were sitting pretty at 4-1. But the wheels fell off the wagon after starter Joe Musgrove exited, as the Diamondbacks scored 11 runs in two innings. Besides this implosion, the Pirates looked very good early last night.
Series in Detroit
On Tuesday, April 16, the Pirates traveled to Detroit to face off against the Tigers. This was the first time the Pirates had seen Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer since they both left Pittsburgh in the offseason. After pleasantries were exchanged, Harrison was held to 1-for-10 in the two games, and Mercer didn’t play. The Pirates won two hard-fought games by scores of 5-3 and 3-2, respectively, as they both went to the 10th inning. Marte homered in the top of the tenth in game one while Moran plated the runner in extras for game two.
Home for the Weekend
Returning home, the Pirates hosted a three-game set against the Giants. Jordan Lyles impressed once again in his appearance on Friday, pitching six innings of scoreless baseball. The bullpen struggled but found a way to close out the remaining three innings, as they used five pitchers to do so. Pittsburgh won by a score of 4-1.
With the injuries to Marte and Gonzalez, the Pirates needed to make a move quickly. They did so in the form of calling up Cole Tucker and Bryan Reynolds from Triple-A Indianapolis. Tucker earned instant Pittsburgh fame with this hit in the bottom of the fifth.
What a moment for Cole Tucker! His first MLB hit is a home run to give the Pirates the lead. pic.twitter.com/PQUrRgo0iK
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) April 20, 2019
The game was called due to weather after five innings, so this home run was the game-deciding play, as the Pirates won 3-1. On Sunday, the Pirates scored first with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Tucker led-off with another extra base hit, a double to left center, and then scored on a home run from Josh Bell.
The Pirates rallied in the bottom of the ninth, as Jung Ho Kang got on base with two outs. Reynolds then stepped into the batters box, and laced a double to right field. Third base coach Joey Cora aggressively sent Kang home on the play.
This is how the Giants clinched their second win of the trip. Nice recovery by Duggar and throw by Panik: pic.twitter.com/gFWOZNm1Tg
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) April 21, 2019
Pittsburgh would lose the final game of the series on this play, but it was its only lose of the week. If all Pirates fans had to complain about from the week was an aggressive play in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday, then it was a pretty good week for baseball.
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