Cervelli Hits Another Homer as Bucs Win

Jose Osuna homers as well, as starter Joe Musgrove is solid.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 25, 2018 - 5:38 pm
Francisco Cervelli and Jose Osuna

93.7 the Fan

Home runs in back-to-back games for Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli as the Bucs beat Toronto 7-4 on Sunday.  Hitting .400. Cervelli now has four homers in his last seven games.  Cervelli hit five homers all of last year and only hit one in 2016 in the regular season.

The Pirates lead the Grapefruit League in homers, with 45, and in OPS.

Jose Osuna with 16 RBI

Jose Osuna homered and drove in two and now is an RBI shy of Manny Machado during Grapefruit League play.  Osuna is hitting .327 with a team-leading five home runs and played the whole game at third base with three assists and a put out.

Osuna led the Bucs last year in Spring Training and in 50 exhibition games in Florida, the righty has 11 home runs and 39 RBI.

If the Pirates go with 13 on the bench, it would appear it would be Osuna making the team.  The righty was competing with Jordan Luplow, who was sent down and Bryce Brentz, who was put on waivers Sunday morning. 

Joe Musgrove Gives Up a Run Over 5

With still another start to make, Joe Musgrove went five innings giving up a run, while walking one and striking out two.

“The control is there,” Musgrove said.  “I’m in the zone for the most part.  It is spring so a chance to work on stuff.  I threw a simulated sixth inning in the bullpen and I still feel pretty strong, so I was happy about today.”

“Arm bounced back, did some different things,” said pitching coach Ray Searage.  “He moved the fastball to both sides of the plate, in and down.  He was also able to get the slider and cutter involved and also the change-up.  The only thing we we’re having a little problem with is the feel of the curve ball.  He still threw it, one was for a get-me-over and one left the ballpark.”

Musgrove said he felt a little tired after the last outing, but was must better on Sunday.  Musgrove will throw in a minor league game on Saturday, but will go with the team to Detroit.

“I really wanted to be there,” Musgrove said.  “Opening Day is really special.  It’s like the first day of school as a kid again.  It’s extremely exciting and to do it in the big leagues is incredible.  I got my first one last year and I hope to make the next 10 or so.”

Reliever Battle

Pirates used a couple of relievers battling for a roster spot on Sunday with lefty Kevin Siegrist, lefty Josh Smoker and righty Kyle Crick throwing.  All have had their issues this spring.

The veteran Siegrist said he’s ready to go, but Searage said the command is not there.  Siegrist gave up a run on two hits in an inning on Sunday and his ERA is near eight.

Crick came over in the Andrew McCutchen trade and is interesting because he would be the only major league component of the deal, as outfielder Brian Reynolds is in minor league camp.  Crick struggled, lasting only two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks as his spring ERA is 5.73.

Smoker was heckled by a Toronto fan as he jogged on the field in the eighth, only to throw a perfect inning with two strikeouts.  The former Met, Smoker lowered his ERA to 4.35.  Smoker has allowed an earned run in two of his nine games and struck out 13 while walking four over 10 innings.

“It’s going to be a tough decision for us,” Searage said. " I don’t want to say one way or the other.  We are going to have a conversation about it in the next day or so.  It will come to a head and we will make our decision.  There’s going to be other people involved, not just me, or Clint.”