The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t had this much fun in a while, and to a great extent, they can thank youngster Ke’Bryan Hayes.
After being out two months, including a rehab stint in Triple-A Indianapolis because of a wrist injury, Hayes has been back two games — much to the frustration of the visiting Miami Marlins.
In those games Thursday and Friday, both Pittsburgh wins, Hayes went 4 for 8 with a homer and three RBIs. He also had at least two highlight-reel plays at third base.
“I’ve had a lot of time in the (batting) cage, so trying to perfect my craft as best I can,” Hayes, 24, told AT&T Sportsnet. “And once I got down to Indy for my rehab games, just sticking with my same approach that I was using last year and trying to perfect that.”
Hayes batted .376 with five homers and seven doubles in his first 24 major league games late last season. He hit a homer in the 2021 opener, then got hurt.
Miami, which has lost a season-worst seven straight games, surely isn’t amused by Hayes or anyone else in the Pirates lineup, especially after a 9-2 loss Friday.
The Marlins made changes Friday, notably 21-year-old second baseman Jose Devers leading off with shortstop Jazz Chisholm Jr. moving down to sixth. Devers drove in both Miami runs.
“We think it balanced our lineup a little better,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Not necessarily something we’ll be doing a lot. I do like Jazz up top. But we thought that for that lineup, just a little bit of a shakeup, put Jazz in an RBI, drive-in-a-run-in situation.”
That last part didn’t work out so well, with Chisholm Jr. going 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout and leaving a runner stranded.
In addition to the loss, the Marlins got expected but disappointing news Friday.
Starter Elieser Hernandez went on the injured list after he strained his right quadriceps running the bases Thursday, his first game back after coming off the IL because of a biceps injury. They then lost Friday’s starter, Cody Poteet, because of a right MCL sprain.
Saturday, Miami left-hander Trevor Rogers (6-3, 1.87 ERA) is slated to oppose Pittsburgh right-hander Chase De Jong (0-0, 1.80 ERA).
Even in a loss last Saturday at Boston, Rogers’ numbers were good. He gave up two runs and nine hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
It seems not much can blunt Rogers’ strong rookie season. He is the first Miami pitcher with at least 76 strikeouts and a sub-2.00 ERA through 11 starts.
The Pirates will be getting their first look at Rogers.
De Jong, who has never faced the Marlins, will be making his second start of the season.
He had a successful first start Sunday after being selected from Indianapolis. He allowed one run and three hits in five-plus innings but went from being set up for the win to getting a no-decision when Colorado came back in the ninth to win.
De Jong might get more opportunities, according to Pittsburgh general manager Ben Cherington, who outlined a plan to give the righty some chances to prove himself.
“Our hope is that we have a lit¬tle bit of a run¬way now,” Cherington said. “He is out of (minor league) op¬tions. We hope that there’s an op¬por¬tu¬nity for him.”
–Field Level Media