Pittsburgh Pirates starter JT Brubaker shoved against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, forcing Alex Cora to take notice.
Brubaker had what is arguably the best start of his career in Thursday’s 8-2 defeat of the Red Sox. The 28-year-old went seven scoreless innings, striking out seven and allowing just three Boston batters to reach base on a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch.
“Good fastball. Good slider,” Cora said. “We didn’t make adjustments. We didn’t put pressure on him. From pitch one he was on the attack and we kept swinging. Obviously, we expanded the zone with him and he pitched his seven innings.”
Pittsburgh’s righty was aided in his performance, according to Cora, as the Red Sox made his job easier throughout the night by swinging at pitches outside of the zone.
“In the first inning we swung at a lot of pitches out of the zone,” Cora said. “Ten to 12 (pitches in the inning) and only three were in the zone. We expanded. I think it was good for him, kind of started feeling good about himself and then his stuff started playing.”
Working with plenty of movement — 87% of Brubaker’s pitches were sinkers, sliders or curveballs — the youngster was able to force Boston into swinging and missing seven pitches out of the strike zone, per ESPN’s game cast feed. Brubaker matched his career high of seven innings pitched, with Thursday being his first outing with seven or more innings pitched with at least seven strikeouts and no walks.
The Red Sox will look to bounce back on Friday night when they take on the Baltimore Orioles from Camden Yards. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET and you can catch all the action on NESN 360.