Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows unintentionally helped out Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta with a home run in the bottom of the first inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game at Chase Field. Peralta drove an 0-2 fastball from Jameson Taillon to left-center. Left alone, the ball wouldn’t have sailed over the wall, but in Meadows’ attempt to make the catch, the ball caromed off of his glove and went over the fence for a two-run home run.
Not much has been going right for the Pirates lately, though they are leading the D-Backs 5-2 in the fifth inning as of this writing. If they win today, they will stave off a series sweep in Arizona. The Buccos haven’t won a series since taking both games in an interleague series at home against the White Sox on May 15-16. The Pirates will open a homestand with three games against the Reds starting Friday, but the schedule gets tougher as they will host the Brewers for three games and the D-Backs for four more.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.