“He’s like, ‘Yeah, sure!’” Stallings said. “We turned it on in the first inning, and he didn’t stay up the whole time, but we kept the game on all nine innings.”
Stallings likes to watch all his former teammates pitch, and he roots for them to succeed. He had a lot to root for in Musgrove’s start, as the right-hander who was traded from the Pirates to his hometown Padres in January twirled San Diego's first no-hitter at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
“To see him go out and do it was pretty cool,” Stallings said. “I was disappointed it wasn’t me and with the Pirates, but for him, it’s obviously an amazing accomplishment. To be the first one in Padres history, for the team he grew up watching, is really cool.”
Though Stallings -- ever the catcher at heart -- said he tried to keep the strategic mindset he often has watching other games at the back of his mind, it cropped up. He noticed the way Musgrove and catcher Victor Caratini, who has caught the last two no-hitters in MLB, adjusted late and threw no four-seamers after the sixth inning. Musgrove pounded slider after slider and used his cutter as his main fastball to carry him to the end.
But Stallings also said it was enthralling to watch as a friend, even after the no-hitter was completed and Musgrove was visibly tired while breaking down his outing for Bally Sports San Diego.
“It was pretty funny,” Stallings said. “He was just so gassed, but that’s just Joe. He leaves everything out there. Always has and always will.”
Stallings never got to achieve a no-hitter with Musgrove, but he has helped give the Pirates a shot at taking them deep into games. Just last season, he carried Mitch Keller through six no-hit innings on Sept. 19, then three days later, he worked with Steven Brault to complete 5 1/3 hitless frames before Anthony Rizzo singled.
Stallings wasn’t in the lineup for the no-hitter Lucas Giolito threw against the Pirates on Aug. 25, 2020. So he had to think hard about if he’d been on the field for one. Then it came rushing back: A five-inning, run-rule no-hitter that he threw in high school.
So he and Musgrove have something in common, depending on who you ask.
“It still counts, right?” Stallings said.
Hayes taking grounders
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said that Ke'Bryan Hayes, who is on the 10-day injured list with left wrist inflammation, took grounders in the past few days, which is a good sign in his progression. Hayes was placed on the injured list just before Sunday’s game in Chicago after he had trouble squeezing his glove during pre-game activities.
The earliest Hayes can come off the injured list is Wednesday vs. the Padres, but the Pirates don't want to rush the third baseman back just to have him back. They're taking it day by day, and Shelton said he appreciates how Hayes has handled it and communicated his status.
“He's been extremely transparent on how he feels, which is important for a young kid,” Shelton said. “So we'll see where he's at today and kind of move forward."
Shelton honors Coyne
Before he began his pre-game presser on Saturday, Shelton offered his condolences to the family of Phil Coyne, the legendary Pirates usher who died Friday at age 102. Shelton said he never got to meet Coyne, largely because Shelton’s first season as manager came during the coronavirus pandemic, but he said the career and life he led was extraordinary.
“Working at Forbes Field, seeing Babe Ruth -- that's like living-legend type stuff,” Shelton said. “It's kind of cool. My heart goes out to him and his family, and [I] want to thank him for everything he did for the Pirates for a long time."
The Pirates will face a familiar friend on Sunday when Trevor Williams makes his first start at PNC Park without a black and gold jersey. Williams was designated for assignment and elected free agency in November before signing a deal with the Cubs on Feb. 5. The Pirates will counter Williams with JT Brubaker in the 1:05 p.m. ET contest, and the action will be live on AT&T Sportsnet and MLB.TV.