The Braves were just what the doctor ordered after that depressing Cubs series last weekend. The Pirates defeated the Braves 8-2 again on Thursday night to take three-out-of-four from the 10-30 Braves.
Gregory Polanco was once again the man in this game. He continued his big season with a two-run home run in the 2nd inning off Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz. Polanco also tripled and later scored on a Jung Ho Kang sacrifice fly in the 5th inning. We wrote about Polanco taking a step further in his development being a major key to the Pirates 2016 season and he’s done that and more by playing at an All-Star level.
The always hated Jeff Locke took the mound against the Braves and was effective most of the night, going seven strong innings allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Despite his 5.00 ERA, Locke has tossed four quality starts in his last five games and is providing the Pirates with a decent option as a 4-5 starter.
The Pirates now sit at 22-18 and 6.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and a half game up on the Cardinals for second place. Last year the Bucs were 18-22 after 40 games and were 17-23 in 2014 at this point. They’re already ahead of last year’s pace and Glasnow and Taillon haven’t even arrived. I always saw avoid the big losing streaks, stick around .500 until you hit that big winning stretch sometime during the summer. The Pirates are already ahead of the game and they’ve done it on offense and not the greatest pitching. Wait till the pitching arrives from Indy next month and let’s see where this team can go.
They look to continue the winning homestand with the 20-20 Rockies coming into town this weekend for a three-game series followed up by three games with the Diamondbacks.