It was a blustery spring night in Pittsburgh, as Jake Westbrook took his sparkling 0.00 ERA and a chance for career win No. 100 to the mound. Despite the darkening clouds and the inevitable rain storm, Mike Matheny opted not to pull the classic LaRussa “bait and switch” by starting a reliever and saving the starter until after the expected rain delay.
So, Jake began the quest for 100. These Pirates have always presented issues for Westbrook. They have hit .314 against him in the past. As a pitch-to-contact kind of guy, the free swinging Pirates seem to get hits to fall in just the right spots.
Last night, though, it was the Redbirds who struck first, plating two in the top of the opening frame. At starting pitcher loves the idea of throwing his first pitch already up by two. But after an opening strikeout, Jake’s night took a dark turn.
Single after single after single, mixed in with a few untimely errors, and all of a sudden that two run lead was a two run deficit.
Four runs in the first?!? Clearly, Jake’s night — no, his career — was on the brink of disaster!!
We all knew Westie wouldn’t hold a perfect ERA all summer. We also knew he’d likely have a bad inning or two, and maybe even a bad game. The task for a pitcher like Jake against a lineup like Pittsburgh’s was a tall order anyway, but the defensive miscues didn’t help. Plus, after that first inning, he came right back with a scoreless second.
However, Mother Nature is apparently a Jake Westbrook fan. In the third inning, the dark clouds that had rolled in opened up and the rains came tumbling down.
One look at the radar, and it was evident there would be no more baseball in Pittsburgh that night. After an extended rain delay, the night was officially called. The stats were all washed away. The starters had a little extra time to rest. And Westbrook’s 0.00 ERA is still officially in tact.
No make-up date for the game was announced.
Instead, we’ll try again tonight with Shelby Miller looking to continue his hot start against AJ Burnett who has just one win in 12 starts (dating back to August) and is two away from career strikeout No. 2,000. Game time is 6:05 p.m. … Hopefully!