Drew Hutchison Fails to Avoid the Big Inning as Pirates Fall to Reds

PITTSBURGH – Though the offense provided a 4-0 lead after the third inning, the pitching staff was not up to the task of maintaining it, and the Pirates lost another seesaw battle with the Cincinnati Reds by a score of 8-7 tonight at PNC Park.

Making his Pirates debut, Drew Hutchison initially seemed to be heading towards a positive outing, but that abandoned him in a four-run fourth inning that would be his last of the night. Hutchison would end up allowing four earned runs on eight hits and one hit-by-pitch in his first start as a Pirate.

Manager Clint Hurdle did have some positive takeaways to share regarding Hutchison’s performance after the game.

“He had decent command early; moved [his fastball] around, elevated it when he wanted to,” said Hurdle. “The slider showed some good spin, some good depth.”

He praised Hutchison’s effort against Joey Votto in the third inning, when he got a swinging strikeout with a perfectly located inside fastball.

Hutchison did work out of a jam in the second inning, getting two strikeouts and a fly out after putting the first two Reds hitters on base, but he was unable to find his way out of trouble in the fourth inning. Brandon Phillips singled with one out, and Scott Schebler was hit by a pitch, bringing Eugenio Suarez to the plate with runners at first and second.

“I made the pitch I wanted [to Suarez],” said Hutchison. “I got the ground ball, which I was trying to do; it was just able to find a hole.”

Suarez’s single scored a run, and both Tucker Barnhart and Hernan Iribarren would follow with singles of their own, making the score 4-2.

After a sacrifice fly by Jose Peraza scored another run, a single by Zack Cozart tied the game at four before Cozart was caught between first and second to end the inning.

Hurdle indicated that Hutchison has had some issues when pitching from the stretch that played a role in the fourth inning.

“[He] tries to get a little quicker with runners on base; that works against him a little bit,” said Hurdle.

Though he declined to go into specifics about the problem, Hurdle did say clearly that the coaching staff has noticed an issue with Hutchison’s delivery when he is pitching from the stretch, and it will be something they continue to work on over the remainder of the season.

Williams Struggles in Relief

Coming in as a reliever, Trevor Williams would allow three more runs on four hits and a walk in the fifth inning to put the Reds up 7-4.

Joey Votto doubled to start the inning, and Adam Duvall would follow with an infield single that caromed off the mound. A bunt by Brandon Phillips should have led to an out, but neither Williams nor John Jaso charged the ball, and Phillips reached base.

“They’re giving us an out and I just have to go after it,” said Williams. “I think I was getting too antsy trying to ambush the bunt to the third-base side and get [a double play].”

Williams walked Schebler to score a run, then got a 5-2-3 double play against Suarez, but he could not finish off Tucker Barnhart, who doubled down the right field line, scoring the other two runs.

“I could have escaped that with only one run,” said Williams. “It was a 2-2 slider; he swung through [the slider] on the first pitch and it needed to be in the same spot. It wasn’t.”

The offense provided two more runs in the sixth inning to cut the Reds’ lead to 7-6, but Juan Nicasio would allow a solo home run to Joey Votto in the ninth inning to score what would be the winning run.

The Pirates threatened again in the bottom of the ninth, putting the winning run in scoring position after an RBI single by Francisco Cervelli, but Jordy Mercer would ground out against closer Tony Cingrani to end the game.

Kang Continues Hot Streak

Third baseman Jung Ho Kang reached base four times this evening, including wrapping his 18th home run just inside the left field foul pole. Kang is now hitting .500/.583/.1.095 since being recalled from the disabled list on September 5th.

Kang’s season line has now improved to .263/.347/.533 (136 wRC+), which in terms of offensive performance places him third among NL third basemen with at least 275 plate appearances, behind Kris Bryant and Matt Carpenter.

Harrison Leaves with Groin Injury

The Pirates reported that second baseman Josh Harrison left the game after suffering a right groin injury. Harrison had trouble after rounding first base on his two-run double to the right-center field gap and left the game immediately. Sean Rodriguez replaced Harrison and finished the game at second base.

Clint Hurdle did not have any information to share regarding Harrison’s injury after the game.

Coming into tonight, Harrison had hit .321/.340/.410 since returning to the leadoff spot on August 5th. Before leaving the game, he recorded two more hits and reached on a throwing error by Suarez in his four plate appearances.

Other Notes

  • Josh Bell (2 H, BB) and Andrew McCutchen (3 BB) each reached base three times to give the top of the lineup a .667 on base percentage for the evening.
  • Jeff Locke pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out two and allowing only one baserunner after a single by Joey Votto with two outs in the sixth.
  • Drew Hutchison became the 51st player used by the Pirates this season, one shy of the franchise record of 52 in 2011.

  • Didn’t see it and don’t want to comment on it, looks like the auditions for next year have started. As I indicated months ago, this is not a playoff team and it is starting to look like it is not a .500 team either. Once the trades were made, I lost interest in both the big club and the minors. So I guess I will have to suffer until season end but at least hockey starts soon and there is always football.

  • Last nite was my last straw!!! Hard to make up 5 games with 2 weeks left!! Good to see Kang playing well and getting his confidence back!! I like Hutch…I like what I saw!! I have to see him a couple more times to really get my opinion on him!!

    I’m not going to continue to beat a dead horse, cause I am done being pissed at the same stuff we been seeing all season!! So now I am just rooting for a winning season!!

    • BHW,
      what did u like about him!!! was it his 90mph fastball!!! the 9 baserunners in 3+ innings!!!the fact that he woulda given up 30 runs against the cubs or cards!!!

  • I’m no pitching coach, but it looks to me like Hutchinson is all over the place in his motion, with arms and legs going in different directions. It’s probably too late to change that now, but if someone would have helped him figure that out at the beginning he would probably have a higher upside.

  • I thought he looked good until the 4th, then for whatever reason, the wheels completely fell off.

    • 2nd time through the order….what it is is the opposing lineup realizing this guy really only has a 90mph fatball and a weak slide piece – some teams wont need two looks at this guy to figure him out – same thing happened in the AL and in AAA indy…..

  • Pitchers and catchers report in appx 157 days.

  • This team has serious rotation concerns for next year. Cole, Taillon and A LOT of question marks for your 3, 4 5. That doesn’t even get into the depth that will be needed for the inevitable injuries.

    Setting aside Glasnow I really don’t see a pitcher who profiles as anything more than a #5 pitcher in the mix(or extremely weak #4) Kuhl/Brault/Hutch/Williams

    So we better pray NH and his friend Finflex are able to bring a competent #3 pitcher in somehow next year.

    Who knows what to expect from Glasnow next year.

  • Everybody gets their wish to not have JHay leading off today (and probably a few days).

    “Though he declined to go into specifics about the problem, Hurdle did say clearly that the coaching staff has noticed an issue with Hutchison’s delivery when he is pitching from the stretch, and it will be something they continue to work on over the remainder of the season.”

    I’d take this as a positive. Obviously Hutchison has MLB-quality stuff but it’s not going to do him any good if he fails once runners are on. Hopefully it’s a fix that will take and result in something positive. Hutchison is going to be a “wait-and-see” asset.

    The bigger question is, if the staff knew all this going in, and they consider Bucs to still be in the race, why pitch the guy?

    Williams… I get putting him in there. More learning curve stuff, but let’s get down to earth on this guy. He doesn’t really have an out pitch. He’s certainly more Nova than Taillon and just needs to hope balls are hit at guys instead of around them.

    • That’s just it, the Bucs aren’t in the race and they realize it. I’m all for seeing some of the unknowns play for the rest of the season. Just hoping the Bucs can manage to come out with 82 wins.

    • “Obviously Hutchison has MLB-quality stuff but it’s not going to do him any good if he fails once runners are on.”

      Since his TJ, nothing points to him having MLB-quality stuff….it might amaze some folks out there that not all TJs are 100% effective – sometimes, a pitchers simply never rebounds for one reason or another…case in point=Drew Hutchison

  • Yeah, The guy they picked up from Toronto looked like s bum. Wish I could say I am surprised.

    • Why don’t you check the box score of Happ’s first start as a Pirate for comparison. Need to give Searage a chance to coach him up before labeling him a bum.

      • Happ’s first start was against the cubs…cubs woulda probably ended drew’s start in the 1st inning….happ was 95+ lefty in his first start…Drew is a nothing fastball with poor location

      • In case you haven’t been paying attention, Hutchison has sucked in Triple A since the trade. So this wasn’t anything like his first start. All you need to know is that the Blue Jays preferred to have Frankie start for them rather than Hutchison.

      • Happ was instructed to throw only his fastball and slider in his first start. The game was sacrificed to analyze his delivery. I was there. He threw 94, 86.

      • Ray! Ray! He’s our man! If he can’t do it, no one can!!

    • He was Toronto’s Opening Day starter in 2015 for a reason. There’s something there, it just needs to be found. Maybe everybody should just give the guy a chance before you label him as “garbage.” Perhaps you’d rather see Locke take the hill again, though.

      • Ron Villone was once OUR Opening Day starter, too.

        • Were the Pirates as good as Toronto was last season, when Villone was the opening day starter?

          • Toronto gave him a 13-5 record with an almost 6 ERA…not sure our offense has enough horses to score 7 runs again for him

      • H/9 going up, WHIP going up, Ks/9 going down = all bad peripherals…if the only options the bucs have is locke or hutchison…4th place is going to look awful good in 2017 🙁

      • Francisco Liriano was the Pirates opening day starter in 2015. Does that mean he has something left? Locke was in the All Star game a few years back. Maybe he has something left. Come to think of it, so was James MacDonald. Maybe if we let Ray coach those guys up, they’ll be spectacular!

  • Good to see NH putting yet another stiff out there. Sure glad we traded two prospects for him.