Here is the good, bad and ugly from Monday's contest.
An Opening Day shutout is nothing to scoff at. Francisco Liriano tied the Pirates record for strikeouts on Opening Day with 10, and the bullpen only allowed two hits in four innings of work. The pitching will have to carry the Bucs this year, as the offense will be very similar to the 2013 version, and it looks as if the staff is picking up where they left off last year.
Marte crushed a couple of pitches, including his double, and even drew a rare walk. While he was guilty of being thrown out on the bases in a slightly stupid way afterwards, Marte surely will be able to build off of this game.
Okay, after one game Ishikawa is leading the team with a .667 batting average after picking up a pair of hits. He also was in perfect position for a pair of pickoffs, even though he botched the first.
That second pickoff play, where Ishikawa made up for his earlier blunder, was the first challenged play in the history of the Pirates. Well, Clint Hurdle is now batting 1.000 in his challenge attempts, and the MLB offices in New York got the call right, a call that was of extreme importance in the Pirates win.
A couple of double plays killed Pirate rallies. Walker was guilty of swinging too soon, and Alvarez was the victim of a perfect shift. Hopefully, other teams don't shade Alvarez up the middle the same way, as he is known to spray his line drives up the middle just to the left of second base.
0-4 with two strikeouts and a double play is such an April stat line for El Toro.
Emilio Bonifacio went 4-5. The rest of the Cubs went 2-27. This might be the worst lineup in the big leagues.Tags: Baseball, MLB, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Pirates, Starling Marte, Travis Ishikawa