By Jason Shetler
After working his way back from shoulder discomfort that he sustained in Spring Training, Joe Musgrove finally made his debut with the Pirates on Friday, as he faced the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. Musgrove was able to make a terrific first impression, tossing seven shutout innings, while also collecting his first big league hit in an 8-1 victory over the Red Birds. Here now is a breakdown of that start inning by inning.
First inning: Musgrove allowed a one out single to Matt Carpenter, but retired the next two batters, including a strikeout to Jose Martinez on a 96 mph fastball on the inside corner.
Second inning: Jedd Gyorko singled to begin the Top of the 2nd. After getting Dexter Fowler to lineout to Austin Meadows in center, Musgrove got Francisco Pena to tap one back to the mound to start an inning ending 1-6-3 double play, throwing only four pitches in the process.
Third inning: The third inning for Musgrove was his first clean frame, as he got Kolten Wong and John Gant to groundout and Tommy Pham to strike out. He needed only nine pitches.
Fourth inning: Musgrove struck out Carpenter to start the Top of the 4th, picking up his third consecutive strikeout. He then got Martinez to flyout. Following an infield single by Marcell Ozuna, Gyorko lined out to end the inning.
Fifth inning: Fowler doubled to leadoff the Top of the 5th, the first extra base hit that Musgrove had given up. Pena then grounded out, allowing Fowler to move to third base. Musgrove worked out of it, as he struck out Wong and Gant.
Sixth inning: Just like the third inning, Musgrove enjoyed his second 1,2,3 frame in the sixth. He got Pham to groundout, Carpenter to flyout and struck out Martinez for a second time.
Seventh inning: Musgrove allowed a double to Ozuna to begin the Top of the 7th. He was able to settle down once again, as he got Gyorko to fan, while inducing groundouts to both Fowler and Pena.
Analysis: Musgrove displayed tremendous efficiency, throwing just 67 pitches, 50 of which were strikes. Out of the 25 batters faced, he started off 16 of them with first pitch strikes. Musgrove’s four-seam fastball ranged from 91-95 mph, topping out at 96. After using the cutter 5.5% of the time last season with the Houston Astros, Musgrove threw it significantly more in his Pirates debut at 23.9%. He not only had solid command of the cutter, but the pitch itself had great break to it. Musgrove also sprinkled in the sinker, slider and changeup. He induced eight groundouts and did so with his different offerings. In addition to the seven strikeouts, he didn’t walk a batter. Musgrove joins Josh Fogg, A.J. Burnett and Vance Worley as the only Pirates trade acquisitions since 2000 to pitch seven scoreless innings in their debut.