Pirates Notebook: Not a good series against the Nats

Yeah, the Pirates went 3-1 against the Nationals, and they came very close to sweeping Washington in four games. Then again, the Nationals came very close to sweeping the Pirates in four games as well.

Let’s ignore the Pirates taking three out of four for a second and break down the games in this series:

Game One: The Pirates were down 5-3 after five innings. Nationals starter Ross Detwiler, making his second start in the big leagues, after being called up from AA, goes 5 innings with two earned runs. The Pirates then put up nine runs against the Nationals’ bullpen to pull away for the win.

Game Two: The Pirates managed to score on one of the best starters for the Nationals, putting up five runs in six innings against Shairon Martis. However, Jeff Karstens allows four runs in six innings, and the lead is blown in the bottom of the ninth. Pittsburgh pulls ahead in the tenth with three runs against Joe Beimel.

Game Three: The Pirates get a strong outing from starter Paul Maholm, and three scoreless innings from the bullpen. However, the offense struggles against Nationals’ ace John Lannan, scoring just one run in seven innings. The Pirates score the go ahead run against Joel Hanrahan in the top of the ninth inning.

Game Four: The Pirates struggle in the early part of the game against rookie Craig Stammen, not exactly a top prospect for the Nats, making his first big league start. This includes being no hit in to the fourth inning. The Pirates manage four runs against Stammen, with three coming in the seventh to put the team up 4-3. However, the Pirates blow the lead in the bottom of the eighth, and can’t come back against the Nationals bullpen.

The Pirates had a 5.09 ERA from their starters. The bullpen had a 3.46 ERA, giving up a run in three of four games, and giving up two runs in two different games. Then there’s the offense. The Pirates scored 26 runs, but 13 of those runs came against the Nationals’ bullpen.

So what happens when the Pirates play a team that has a legitimate bullpen? The three wins came thanks to poor pitching from the Nationals’ bullpen. The Nationals’ bullpen was so bad that they allowed 13 runs in 12.2 innings pitched. A run per inning.

The Pirates have interleague play coming up, and their record against AL teams leaves a lot to be desired over the past few seasons. Let’s hope they fix their pitching issues from this last series before heading to Chicago. We can’t count on a bullpen collapse every night from the rest of the teams we play.

Speaking of pitching problems, check out my breakdown on Jason Jaramillo and Paul Maholm.

Brandon Moss is on fire

After tonight’s 2 for 4 performance, Brandon Moss is batting an amazing .552 over the last nine games, going 16 for 29 over that stretch. That brings his May average up to .339 for the season.

Even more, in his last seven starts, Moss has recorded at least two hits per game. The last Pirate to accomplish this feat? Barry Bonds in 1992. Moss is the ninth Pirate player to record multiple hits in seven straight starts since 1954. The other players:

Barry Bonds (twice)
Omar Moreno
Al Oliver
Matty Alou
Willie Stargell
Manny Mota
Roberto Clemente (twice)
Jerry Lynch

So how rare is this accomplishment? From 1992 to now the event has only happened 61 times in the majors, or just over three times per season on average.

So what about eight games in a row? The Pirates have only had three players since 1954 with multiple hits in eight straight starts. Those players were Bobby Bonilla, Glenn Wilson, and Tony Pena. The eight straight streak has only happened 21 times from 1992 to now, or an average of a little over one per season.

The Pirates’ record since 1954 is nine games, set by Rennie Stennett in 1971. Stennett is the only Pirate to accomplish this feat in this time period.

The MVP Tracker

Here are the updates to the MVP Tracker from tonight’s game:

-One negative point for Tom Gorzelanny for the tying and go ahead run.

-One negative point each for Ramon Vazquez and Delwyn Young for their strikeouts in the ninth with a runner on, down by one. Personally I think Andy LaRoche should have been kept in the game.

-One negative point each for Nyjer Morgan and Freddy Sanchez, for each going 0 for 4 at the top of the lineup.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Fla Pirate

    Good analysis. Ugly series that doesn’t give me a great feeling about the rest of the season.

    Too bad we can’t play the Nationals every week or at least once a month.