Game two of the mid-week series between the Pirates and the Diamondbacks featured a showdown between Luke Weaver and Joe Musgrove. After the clinic that Zac Gallen out on the previous night, Weaver was left with a fairly high bar to clear. Clear it he did, with room to spare. Unfortunately for both Weaver and the Diamondbacks, Weaver’s opposite, Joe Musgrove, was even better.
Luke Weaver was on top of his game throughout the day. While he did allow single tallies in both the third and fifth innings, these were both a product of combining small ball with some seeing-eye singles. In both cases the scores were the product of a single, a sacrifice bunt, and another single, the second being of the seeing-eye variety, just outside the range of Nick Ahmed. The first went into center and no play was made at the plate. The second squirted into left and there was a play at the plate, but the runner was called safe, getting in under a throw home by David Peralta.
Weaver was charged with allowing another run in the eighth inning, though that was the result of Virtual Lovullo making a questionable call to the bullpen. Weaver was still cruising and already had one out in the eighth when Lovullo chose to bring in Kevin Ginkel to finish out the inning. Weaver left the game having just allowed a single to Guillermo Heredia. Usually, calling on Ginkel seems like a decent idea. Today though, it seemed a bit premature. As things turned out, it is hard to claim that Weaver, even if he ran out of gas, could have done any worse. Not only did Ginkel allow his inherited runner to score, but he allowed three more scores of his own creation. He was finally pulled from the game in favor of Junior Guerra, having allowed four runners to score and getting only one out. Furthermore, when he left the game, the Pirates still had runners on second and third.
On the day, Weaver stuck out nine batters while not walking any. He didn’t allow hard contact once in the game. He pitched into the eighth inning, with a respectable pitch count and gave his team every possible chance to put a mark in the win column. Too bad Arizona’s offense forgot to show up.
For all the suck that Kevin Ginkel brought to the mound in the eighth inning, the reality is, it did not impact the final outcome one bit. While he was nowhere near as dominant, the end results for Joe Musgrove were even better than those for Weaver. Musgrove managed to hold the Diamondbacks to only three hits and two walks on the day. This despite plenty of hard contact throughout the entire game. Unfortunately, the hard-hit balls were either at’ems or foul balls. A bit ironically, it was one of the lesser struck balls that actually stayed fair long enough to just get over the wall. Starling Marte managed to get a wall-scraper into the stands in the fifth inning, the only scoring of the day for Arizona. David Peralta’s 111.9 mph shot went for a single, but nothing came of it. The other seven times the exit velocity broke 105 mph, outs or long strikes were recorded. Musgrove manged to dial up plenty of ugly contact as well, usually to get himself out of an inning after allowing the rare base runner.
Final Score PIT 6 - AZ 1
Joe Musgrove was named player of the game. It’s hard to argue with that decision. Throwing eight innings of one-run ball is an impressive feat. The same two teams will play the rubber game tomorrow afternoon. Mitch Keller will take the ball for the Pirates to face Mike Leake and the Diamondbacks.