The outcome of the game didn’t go the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ way on Thursday, as they lost to the Chicago Cubs by a score of 3-2, but there were some positives to take from the loss. Well, there was also a negative to take away, but it’s the same negative we’ve seen in the first few games — the offense has been horrid. It’s not really worth discussing at this point; it’s either going to fix itself or it’s going to be a bad season offensively for the Pirates.
The biggest positive to take from the 3-2 loss is the performance of newcomer Edinson Volquez. Honestly, I still don’t expect much from him moving forward. I have blasted the Pirates on several occasions for giving Volquez $5 million, but he is doing his part so far to make it look like a solid deal. In his 2014 debut, Volquez pitched two innings with two strikeouts and just one hit allowed.
Strikeouts are nice for Volquez, but they aren’t the most important factor for his chances at success. For Volquez to succeed, he will need to avoid hurting himself with walks. With a career 4.75 BB/9, it’s clear that he hasn’t had success limiting walks so far. On Thursday, though, Volquez looked extremely impressive. He didn’t allow a walk in his two innings and 21 of his 28 pitches went for strikes. He pounded the zone with fastballs that ranged from 92 to 95 MPH, and he threw a few nice change-ups to keep the hitters off balance.
Like I said, I still don’t have much faith in the pitcher to have a great, or even good, 2014 season. His track record suggests he won’t be great. However, if Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage did somehow fix Volquez, I’ll be more than happy to admit I was wrong about him. I won’t admit anything, though, over a small sample size of just two innings.