James McDonald allows one hit over seven innings, gets the no-decision, Pirates lose

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Quite the dispiriting opening to today’s Pirates-Rockies doubleheader. At least if you’re the Pirates or one of their fans.

Bucs’ starter James McDonald allowed only one hit in seven innings — the first hit coming in the seventh — and struck out eight and ended up allowing only one run.  Despite this, the Pirates lost 2-1 and McDonald got a no-decision.

Not that McDonald was totally screwed by his teammates or anything. He allowed the leadoff walk to Carlos Gonzalez in the seventh and then threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners and led to the Rockies’ first run of the game. But still: it’s not like he had any margin for error. The Pirates got a Pedro Alvarez homer and that’s all.

McDonald now has a 2.78 ERA for the season, but has yet to win a game.  Tough stuff.

Cubs sign sinkerballer Steve Cishek

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs have signed reliever Steve Cishek. No details about the deal are known yet. For what it’s worth, most relievers are signing two-year deals so far this winter and Cishek’s last deal was a two-year pact.

Cishek, 31-year-old sidearmer who throws a surprisingly fast sinkerball, posted a 2.01 ERA and a 41/14 K/BB ratio and allowed just 26 hits in 44.2 innings between the Mariners and Rays last season. He saved 25 games for the M’s in 2016. Last year he missed the first month and a half of the season following hip surgery, but seemed pretty healthy later in the year.

A nice pickup for Chicago.