Pittsburgh Pirates: Takeaways from Game 1 of 2018 MLB Spring Training

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 06: Jordy Mercer
BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 06: Jordy Mercer /

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays squared off on Friday, February 23rd in the Bucs’ first game of the 2018 MLB Spring Training.

After what seemed like an eternity, the Pittsburgh Pirates are back playing baseball once again, as they squared off with the Tampa Bay Rays in the team’s first game of the 2018 MLB Spring Training schedule. The result didn’t turn out like everyone had hoped, but we can all agree that wins and losses aren’t a huge factor in late-February,

As usual, there were many good things we saw from the Pirates in their first Spring Training game, but there were also some things the team needs to work on moving forward.

Regardless of whatever highs and lows you’re going to read below, please know the Bucs are still very early in the process of getting ready for the 2018 regular season.

Box Score:

While wins and losses in Spring Training don’t necessarily matter, it is important to note the Pirates did strike first against the Rays on Friday afternoon. Still, giving up four runs in the bottom of the third is something the pitching staff will address heading into the weekend.


22-year-old outfielder, Austin Meadows, made a big splash in his first appearance of this season for Pittsburgh. Starting in the lineup as the Bucs designated hitter, Meadows had three hits on three tries, while driving two runs across-the-plate in the process. Needless to say, going 3-3 with two doubles is a great day at the ballpark, especially for Pittsburgh’s former first round draft pick.

Another standout performance on Friday came from the 25-year-old pitcher, Tyler Eppler. In arguably the Pirates’ best pitching performance of the day, Eppler went two innings, while striking out three batters and keeping the Rays off the scoreboard.


In my opinion, the biggest low of the day came from Alex McRae, who gave up four hits and four earned-runs after only one inning on the mound. If the 24-year-old right-hander wants to find in place in Major League Baseball sometime soon, he can ill-afford to have this type of performance again.

Nevertheless, I’m sure the 24-year-old will have more opportunities to prove himself this spring.

Next: Trade for Corey Dickerson will be huge for Pirates

With their first Spring Training match-up out of the way, the Pirates will turn their sights to the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM. Take a look at MLB’s preview of Pittsburgh’s match-up with the Bronx Bombers here.