Through the first three games of a series against Arizona that concludes Sunday at PNC Park, Meadows has gotten the better of Diamondbacks pitching. Despite going 0-for-4 Saturday, he’s 5-for-13 in the series with a run, a walk and a stolen base.
In fact, Meadows told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that pitchers are only adjusting to him “a little bit” after his early success.
“They’re throwing a little more of their off-speed early in the count for strikes,” he said. “For me, it’s just going out there and having the same mentality I did when I got here. Having that fastball-first mentality and adjusting to certain things and staying in my zone and not swinging at their pitches.”
Meadows, 23, a 2013 first-round draft pick who is healthy after injury setbacks, started on fire after his call-up from Triple-A Indianapolis on May 18, but going from .409 to .330 is probably just leveling off to something closer to what he can maintain.
He has made 25 starts — he batted leadoff Saturday in a 7-2 Pirates loss — divided among all three outfield spots. He has hits in 20 of the 25 starts, including 12 of the past 14, with six doubles, two triples, five homers, 11 RBIs, 14 runs and five stolen bases.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle expects that opposing teams will use whatever resources they have to try to shift the advantage to the pitchers.
“We’ve seen a punch-back already,” said Hurdle, who doesn’t sound as if he expects opponents to fully solve Meadows any time soon.
“If you’re not impressed by Meadows’ at-bats, you need to go watch another sport right now,” he said.
Pittsburgh (36-40) has lost four straight and five of six. Arizona (43-33) has won three in a row, five of six, and will go for a four-game series sweep Sunday.
Buchholz has three no-decisions in a row. His most recent start last Sunday was one of the Diamondbacks’ most frustrating losses.
He allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings and Arizona went into the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead before the New York Mets came back against closer Brad Boxberger to win 5-3.
“We got some very solid pitching, and Buccholz handed it off to the bullpen,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
Buchholz was subdued but “felt pretty good for the most part.”
Buchholz has been strong on the road with no wins to show for it — 0-1 with a 2.12 ERA and a .180 average against in three starts.
He is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates.
Williams is coming off a gem. He pitched seven one-hit, scoreless innings and struck out seven Monday in a 1-0 win over Milwaukee. It was his first win since May 15.
Against the Diamondbacks, Williams is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in three career starts. That includes a 13-8 road loss on June 12 when he gave up six runs (one earned) in the first inning and two in the third.