PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Every game this Spring Training has been impacted by the new Spring Training rules designed to keep players healthy. Per mutual agreement, the Bucs and Tigers only played a 5 inning home opener with Detroit winning 6-1.
“I felt really good,” said starter JT Brubaker who gave up a run over an inning. “The ball was coming out good. Body felt good on the mound. Everything was in sync.”
The only mistake was allowing a solo homer on a back-door slider to Willi Castro that caught too much of the plate. Brubaker would add a strikeout in his inning of work.
“I thought he was good,” Shelton said. “He threw a slider for a strike and threw another that didn’t slide. First time out, threw the ball on the plate. Did a good job. That was an encouraging sign.”
It’s an opportunity for the righty to start the season in the major league rotation. Brubaker went 1-3 in 9 starts with a 5.53 ERA, 16 BB, 44 SO, in 42.1 IP with the Pirates in 2020.
“Building off of last year, just getting ahead,” Brubaker said. “Attacking hitters. Not trying to get too far outside the zone. Trying to stay more north-south than trying to get east-west on it.”
“Just trying to be myself. Just go out there, attack hitters how I know how to attack. Let the decisions be made by the staff.”
26-year-old righty Sean Poppen, claimed off waivers from the Twins in October, gave up three earned runs in the third inning on four hits and a strikeout.
Every Pirates pitcher gave up at least a base runner. Cody Ponce had a walk and strikeout in a scoreless inning. Brandon Ogle stranded two base runners on two strikeouts in the fourth. Max Kranick gave up a pair of runs on 21 pitches only getting an out before the inning ended. It’s a term you will hear a lot more this spring, ‘a rollover inning’.
It’s a rule designed to partially save arms and reduce rosters due to coronavirus. When pitchers reach 20 pitches, their manager can decide to end the inning right there. There is no rollover per se because the next pitcher does not inherit the situation left by the exiting pitcher.
Todd Frazier lined his second home run of the Spring down the left field line for the Pirates only run. It’s Frazier’s second homer in as many games in Grapefruit League play.
“Homers are good,” Shelton said. “He can hit. He can hit the fastball. It’s been good.”
Ke’Byran Hayes doubled, his second of the Spring, for the Pirates only other hit.
Mixed around D
You will always see unique variations in Spring Training, Tuesday Kevin Newman played second with Adam Frazier still recovering from a groin injury. Todd Frazier played his first game as a Pirate at first base. Eric Gonzalez was at short with Travis Swaggerty a late replacement in center for Jared Oliva, who had lower back tightness. Oneil Cruz was the designated hitter.
Frazier initiated and completed a smooth 3-6-3 double play in the second inning.
Pirates starting pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem before Tuesday’s first game of the season at LECOM Park. Brault has also sung it multiple times before games at PNC Park.
Brault will use his arm tomorrow, scheduled to start in Port Charlotte, Florida against Tampa Bay at 1:05p.