Many people seemed skeptical about having Jonathan Sanchez in the rotation, however he came prepared Monday with aggressive pitch locations and velocity. Still, the Pittsburgh Pirates offense sputtered once again mustering only two hits in a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers got on the board in the second inning when Sanchez threw a pitch right in Andre Ethier’s wheel house and he promptly hit the ball over the right field wall.
Sanchez hit a wall in the sixth inning when Mark Ellis walked. Matt Kemp would drive him in with a double and then the next batter Adrian Gonzalez also doubled making the score 3-0. Sanchez was then removed from the game and replaced by Jeanmar Gomez who got all three outs of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Andrew McCutchen got the second hit of the game for the Pirates in the seventh inning against Zack Greinke. Greinke pitched well against the Pirates once again going 6.1 innings striking out six while throwing 92 pitches.
Any chance of the McCutchen scoring ended when he was caught stealing. Reliever Paco Rodriguez came in and struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the Pirates half of the seventh inning.
The Pirates offense continued their struggles and Brandon League pitched a perfect ninth for the Dodgers to earn his first save of the season. The loss puts the Pirates at 1-3 on the season.
My thoughts on Jonathan Sanchez: Sanchez had a respectable outing, however there were some worry signs. His velocity started out well, however early he was getting to deep into counts. The score could have and probably should have been worse if the Dodgers did not bail him out, most notably Matt Kemp swinging on a 3-0 count in the first inning. As the game wore on Sanchez was clearly getting fatigued. His velocity dropped three miles per hour and his location on the Kemp double was terrible. I do take a lot more positive than negative from Sanchez but I am not as high on the outing as many others seem to be. What might have encouraged me most was his fifth inning where he got out of a jam were runners were on first and third base and Sanchez got Carl Crawford to strike out.
Sanchez final line: 5+ innings pitched, 6 hits, 3 runs [all earned], 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Hero: I’m giving it to Jeanmar Gomez. Why not? That was quick relief work in a good way to end the sixth inning and then he settled in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings.
Goat: The entire Pirates offense. I’m not sure if it’s Hitting Coach Jay Bell not preparing his team or the team just having terrible results at the plate. Regardless, something needs to change.
What’s on tap: The Pirates will send A.J. Burnett to the mound to face Clayton Kershaw at 9:10 Eastern. Burnett was the hard luck loser in the opener to Chicago and comes in with a 4.76 ERA. Crawford has a .290 average in 62 at-bats against Burnett. Kershaw looked strong with a complete game shutout of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Kershaw also hit a solo homer in the game. Clint Barmes is 7-25 against Kershaw and Gaby Sanchez bats .429 against the lefty.