Tigers 6, Pirates 3

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

We’ll keep things fairly short on here because the main story of the day — obviously — is Kevin Hart. And I wrote up a whole analysis piece that covers this outing (another dismal one), his spring as a whole and the Pirates’ fifth-starter situation for the main site. No need to rehash everything you can read there here.

You can find the full story here. Below are some highlights…

  • Hart was supposed to go three innings today. He lasted 1 2/3 and needed 53 pitches (34 balls, 19 strikes) to go that deep. There were six walks and one hit batter and he was plenty wild. This wasn’t a case of being just off the strikezone. For the third start in a row, Hart looked lost with his mechanics and unable to control where the ball was going.
  • He has now walked 13 hitters in 4 2/3 spring innings.
  • Manager John Russell would not budge when asked if Daniel McCutchen has moved ahead of Hart in the battle for that fifth spot in the rotation. For whatever reason, I still get the feeling the Pirates want Hart to take that spot (I don’t have a good answer as to why), and so he’s going to continue to get chances. Hart’s struggles coupled with McCutchen’s solid performances are probably a worst-case-scenario for the club. Why? Because it’s going to be really hard to justify putting a pitcher who has so far shown no consistency with his mechanics on the Opening Day roster.
  • Don’t assume that Hart can’t still make this team. In fact, the possibility of the Pirates using a four-man rotation for most of the first few weeks of the season is looking more and more likely. The club could get by with using a fifth starter once and skipping him twice during the first two and a half weeks because of three early off days. That could give Hart time to work with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan before he would be placed in the rotation to pitch consistently.
  • McCutchen is going to make his next appearance in a Grapefruit League game, Russell confirmed. Remember, McCutchen pitched in an intrasquad game his last time out. However, it still doesn’t look like the right-hander is scheduled to make a start. He’s slated to piggyback Zach Duke on Sunday.
  • All sorts of quotes from Hart will be in the main story on pirates.com

***

Some other items of potential interest:

  • Brandon Moss is now 0-for-19 after going hitless in two at-bats on Wednesday. He did make good contact in his final at-bat of the afternoon, but lined out to center.
  • Vinnie Chulk had three more strikeouts on Wednesday to give him 11 in seven innings this spring. He did allow one run on two hits and two walks.
  • Both D.J. Carrasco and Brendan Donnelly gave up their first runs of spring. Carrasco had made four scoreless apperances and Donnelly had made three before today.
  • Third baseman Pedro Alvarez continues to swing a hot bat. He went 1-for-2 with a double and has now hit safelt in six of his last seven games.
  • Take away his March 11 outing against the Rays and reliever Jeff Karstens has looked really good. He faced the minimum in getting through 1 1/3 innings on Wednesday and has now allowed just one hit (no walks) in the 5 1/3 innings (not including that March 11 game).
  • Bobby Crosby made another start at first base and looked pretty sharp defensively. It sure is looking like the Pirates, who have a left-handed dominant lineup, are looking to get his right-handed bat in there as much as possible during the year. If he hits once the season gets underway, a platoon at first with Jeff Clement is certainly a possibility.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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