Pirates Discussion: Pirates Offense Was Fried

JT Brubaker followed up his seven scoreless innings in his last start by holding the Atlanta Braves to no runs and one hit through four innings.

Michael Chavis hit his 13th homerun of the season in the second inning against Atlanta starter Max Fried to give the Pittsburgh Pirates an initial 1-0 lead.

Unfortunately just as the Braves offense did to Roansy Contreras the night before, they finally broke through in the fifth inning but this time for much more. Six straight batters reached base safely to start the fifth inning before Brubaker could record his first out. At that point the Braves had taken a 3-1 lead and by the time Brubaker was able to work his way through the inning Atlanta had built a 5-1 lead.

The Braves would add another run in the sixth inning on a two-out single by Austin Riley against Chase De Jong who had just replaced Brubaker. The RBI single given up by De Jong to score an inherited runner would be the only hit against him as he finished the final 2.1 innings without allowing another baserunner and striking out four.

In total Brubaker was able to throw 6.2 innings allowing nine hits, one walk, six earned runs and struck out eight batters. reaching a career high of 127 IP in a MLB season.

Aside from the Chavis HR the Pirates offense was only able to collect two more hits — Ben Gamel and Jason Delay each singled — and a walk by Rodolfo Castro.

*****

With Mitch Keller on the mound for the day game, I wanted to turn this piece into a discussion about how development isn’t linear, rather than just another dragging-on recap about a bad offense.

The opposing pitcher for the Atlanta Braves will be Kyle Wright. Kyle Wright was a 5th overall pick by the Braves in 2017 out of Vanderbilt University (which now that I think about it, Bryan Reynolds should welcome his friend with a couple river shots).

I have mentioned in the threads on a couple of occasions how the Braves once had a stable of young pitchers who were all finding themselves atop prospect lists: Bryse Wilson, Touki Toussaint, Aaron Blair, Sean Newcomb, Kolby Allard, Max Fried, Mike Soroka, and Kyle Wright.

I could probably keep going but every single one of these pitchers was at one point or another on a Top 100 list within the last five years. They have each seen various degrees of success, failures, or injuries.

Mitch Keller is six months Wright’s junior. Much like Keller, Wright had struggled mightily until this season. Kyle Wright debuted in 2018 about a month shy of his 23rd birthday. From that time up until the 2022 season he had amassed only 70 total innings with a 6.56 ERA, 6.56 FIP, and 5.73 xFIP. Which was good for -0.9 fWAR or -0.5 bWAR.

So, we’re angry because we don’t have our own Vaughn Grissom or Michael Harris II. But Mitch Keller much like Kyle Wright is an example of someone that was held on to just long enough to maybe be finally figuring it out.

Braves @ Pirates

Time: 12:35 PM EST

Pirates Starter: Mitch Keller (4-9, 4.49)

Braves Starter: Kyle Wright (15-5, 3.14)

Keller Notes: Mitch Keller with be returning to the mound after a very abbreviated start in his last appearance. Keller was only able to throw two innings previously when he was pulled from the game after showing a dip in velocity due to shoulder fatigue. Mike Persak mentioned on Twitter that he spoke with Keller who said his velocity was back in normal range during bullpen sessions.

LINEUPS:

Pirates

Braves

1. R. Acuna (R) RF
2. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
3. Austin Riley (R) 3B
4. Matt Olson (L) 1B
5. W. Contreras (R) C
6. Eddie Rosario (L) DH
7. Vaughn Grissom (R) 2B
8. Michael Harris II (L) CF
9. R. Grossman (S) LF

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Retire21

Can Van Meter be DFA’ed in the middle of the game …

Wilbur Miller

And more Dumbo, this on JVM’s first error:

“That’s a ball that we’ve just got to catch. If that’s the case, we’re out of the inning, it’s 2-0, and we go from there,” Shelton said. “After that, the inning didn’t go as we wanted it to.”

If he wants somebody to catch the ball, maybe he shouldn’t put a minor league player out there.

TNBucs

That’s a great example of how Shelton views things. When things go bad, it’s execution. But there’s never any sharing the blame. What not add after his first sentence something like “We realize that we’re sometimes putting players in positions they’re unfamiliar with or may not be prepared for yet…”

Wilbur Miller

Dumbo on today’s humiliation:

“I don’t think any one of those weighs any more than any other loss. When games get out of hand like that you flush them. Close games are challenging, but I don’t look at it like that.”

IOW, he doesn’t give a sh*t. This guy doesn’t even seem to realize that the game is played for the fans.

TNBucs

Whereas Hurdle came in talking about re-bonding the team with the fans, Shelton doesn’t seem to think in those terms. It was probably time for Hurdle to go at the end, but I miss him, especially how he interacted those first years (even during the “collapsenings”).

Wilbur Miller

Cheringtoon’s announcement that Dumbo will be back is looking just as apt and well-timed as his comments about being encouraged. Showing, of course, that he’s utterly disinterested in what the fans think and completely free of any accountability.

The other startling resemblance is between this team and Hurdle’s in his last couple months. That one had to be torn down starting a few months later. Where do you go with this sad, lifeless bunch?

TNBucs

Sounds like Ogden wants to see a sense of urgency rather than just hear Ben talk about urgency (which I’ve always interpreted as meaning something has to happen now). To quote The Smiths:

“When you say “it’s gonna happen now”
Well, when exactly do you mean?
See I’ve already waited too long
And all my hope is gone”

RAS TN

Contraction…except that would really hurt the City and County revenue-wise and then debt-wise…I would guess much more on the debt side than on the revenue side…

Cobra

Yoshi somewhere:
“man I was bad but not Josh Van Meter bad”

RAS TN

Now on to Philly to get whacked again…

BTW the first time Atl has swept the Pirates…

RAS TN

Who cares what they do, this is a bad team and actually gone beyond that with the comments from their esteemed GM that seems to enjoy the way the team is going… 1882 – 2022 is a long and storied history, and now just a pathetic joke of a historic team…they have lost generations of younger fans with no end in sight. Oh, sure that same old same old excuse and they will continue to draft high with minimal positive results if any…

TNBucs

My slightly irrational side thinks that Cherington is obsessed with seeing us hit rock bottom so that he can be recognized as a “great GM” for building a team up from nothing. Maybe he wants to outdo his former buddy Huntington who took us from the longest losing streak (in years below .500) in professional sports to near the top. But Ben, in those 20 years we were never as bad as we’ve been the last three so you can start trying to win anytime and we’ll hold you in as high esteem as we held Huntington in 2013-2015.

My more rational side thinks he’s just not very good at his job, which is why he was available to us in the first place.

ironmike56

There is an unearned arrogance about the way this guy is operating. His fleeting success with the Red Sox was due in no small part to the willingness of that franchise to add real major league free agent players. Passed over for the top post there, he resigned and taught a class.

TNBucs

Yeah, he got lucky with several FA signings that had near-career-best years in 2013 before falling back to earth in 2014 (I guess a Cherington fan could say he was unlucky in 2014). But going from being WS champion to 71-91 doesn’t suggest a GM has a plan to sustain success, which was one of the biggest complaints against Huntington.

Shultzie31

How can a team this bad not be a lock for a lottery pick?! Like just how can you possibly be worse than this?? But somehow Washington is a speck in the rear view mirror

TNBucs

Today means that we’ve had at least two of what I’d classify as embarrassing losses in each month:

April: 0-9 to the Cardinals, 0-21 to the Cubs
May: 1-11 to the Dodgers, 0-9 to the Cubs, 4-18 to the Cardinals
June: 1-9 to the Cardinals, 5-14 to the Cubs
July: 2-19 to the Brewers, 0-16 to the Yankees, 2-13 to the Rockies
August: 1-10 to the Reds, 2-14 to the Braves

That’s about 1/10 of our schedule (12 blowouts in a little over 124 games played). Think about that–we have a 10% chance of seeing our team humiliated which seems shockingly high, and there are no signs that it’s getting better. Yet, we keep hearing how we’re making progress because of 2-run losses or whatever (noting BC’s arrogant statement about the FO ‘seeing things that fans can’t see’).

redwards60

BTW, the Pirates appear to be a team that has quit….I could be wrong, and hopefully I am, but I don’t see much fight in them and they are becoming less competitive with each game it seems. If true, that is on Shelton and his coaching staff. It is also on BC for hanging on to so many unacceptable veteran players at the expense of prospects at Indy and Altoona who could be getting valuable experience. what a mess

TNBucs

That was the narrative down the stretch of 2019 and cost Hurdle his job. Did they quit then? Are they quitting now? If all we have to by are the results, there doesn’t seem any difference between ’19 and ’22.

Anthony

The rosters couldn’t be anymore different.

redwards60

Sorry, but Keller has LONG ways to go and a ton of improvement to make to remotely approach Kyle Wright. Yes, I am angry that the Pirates cannot draft and/or develop successful quality major league impact players – despite the numerous very high drafts packs they have accumulated as well as all the sell off trades over the past several years. Despite having just won a World Series title, the Braves have a younger and far superior roster to the Pirates. Pirates management is inept and that is being kind.

docdon385

I love baseball and only wish Pittsburgh had a major league team. This is a farce and no one in management seems to care.

hoffmark83

30 games under 500. Another top 5 pick in the draft next year. Who is the best draft eligible middle infielder? You know we’re drafting him. And last but not least JVM STILL with the team. Thank God High School Football starts Friday.

ArkyWags

Here’s the best part: not a guaranteed top 5 pick next year!

hoffmark83

Sadly, you are right.

bucsws2014

And to top off his day, VanMeter gets to make the last out.

piratemike

Why pick only on Vanmeter? I’m not defending him, but he is the poster child on a whole team that is less than mediocre.

Cobra

Because the poor guy exemplifies most everything wrong with this team’s management:

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks, currently 29 games back in their own division, determined in the Spring they had no room on their 40 man roster for Van Meter
  • They had good cause:he was never a good defender and at the time “ The former fifth-round pick has a career .212/.300/.364 slash line, offense that checks in 25 percentage points below average by measure of wRC+“
  • Even if we (in our infinite wisdom and stellar track record of finding offensive powerhouse diamonds in the rough) saw something “special” in Van Meter — just like we apparently did with Erik Gonzalez, Ka’ai Tom & Jared Dyson among others — rather than waiting for claiming him on waivers we actually traded a player for him practically ensuring he would break camp with our Team without having to earn it in Spring Training
  • By the way of all our roster voids, The Pirates are not short on young guys with some upside who can play middle infield
  • It was apparent in April he would be a contributing factor to this team.
  • It was apparent in May he would not be a contributiong factor this team
  • It was apparent on June 1st when he fractured his ring finger he would not be a contributing factor on this team
  • His return to the lineup came at a time when the Pirates were winning a little and they were fun to watch. In fact his very return & presence in the lineup signaled to fans and the world: we do not actually want to win this major league game today or this season.
  • Yet here we are on August 28th watching Josh Van Meter get playing time
  • His presence in the lineup, albeit diminished in the last couple weeks, is a direct middle finger to many of us fans who are willing to watch younger guys with team control struggle but who are infuriated by a guy with a bottomless floor offensively and defensively who has cost us multiple games with his bat and glove get ABs and playing time

So yes that is why to some us Josh Van Meter is the poster child for a crappy, soulless, directionless 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates team

Last edited 1 month ago by Cobra
piratemike

Atlanta scored 14 runs VM didn’t give up those 14 runs by himself he had a lot of help but who does everybody mention… Vanmeter….. no other name. All I’m saying is spread the blame around.

PiratePrimate

Hey, they only gave up runs in three innings. Other than that, the Pirates played them even. And sometimes there are more important things than winning, like getting to watch Josh VanMeter play 1B. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Last edited 1 month ago by PiratePrimate
hoffmark83

Maybe VanMeter will pitch the 9th.

ironmike56

People at the park are starting to laugh at the Pirates this is so bad……
Keller was competitive until Vanmeter follies ruined his outing.

One hard hit ball all day by this team and it set a record but this is a disgrace. Gas and hotel in Altoona is money better spent.

Jeff

I’ve been laughing all year

ironmike56

14-0 and we probably have 1500 people left in the park…..

forkball

And the rest are leaving now that Cruz won’t hit again.

chappy

The Braves will have gone 7-0 against us and thoroughly imposed their will on us in almost every way.

1979andCounting

The bright side is we’ll probably only have 3-4 games vs Braves next year due to the new schedule format.

TNBucs

It’s still home-and-away for NL East and NL West teams but home-or-away for AL teams (with the exception of the Tigers), so we get seven games with the Braves (4 at home in August, 3 there in September). At least we can’t do worse than this year.

1979andCounting

That’s unfortunate. The Braves are going to be tough……maybe in ’24 we’ll catch a break.

TNBucs

All of these years since 1992 and they’re still the team I hate to lose to the most. (The Cubs under Maddon briefly held that spot.)

hoffmark83

Wow! The Pirates are so bad that people get excited because Cruz hit a ball 122.4MPH. I’ll care about that when they start winning more games otherwise it’s meaningless to me.

Retire21

Yeah … a 122.4 MPH … Single

1979andCounting

If you don’t understand the significance of that, today and for the future, well, I’m actually speechless.

NMR

They dont award you extra runs for hitting it further out of the park.

hoffmark’s being a dick, but he’s right.

1979andCounting

Nah. The EV that comes off Cruz’s bat makes line drives get into gaps faster than OFers can get to. Gets ground balls thru the IF or IF shifts faster than getting fielded for outs. The EV has a lot more applications than just whether it’s a 400 ft HR or 430 ft.

Anthony

That requires Cruz to at least make contact tho

James_Robert5
bucsws2014

Today a 366 ft single on a rope, earlier in week a 366 HR on a 41 degree launch angle. Cruz can do it all, lol.

john_fluharty

Got to find some things to enjoy where you can.

john_fluharty

Cruz! 122.4MPH. hardest hit ball in statcast history

TNBucs

Cruz just needs to develop the bat control to send those balls screaming past the pitchers’ heads, then bargain with the pitchers that he’ll stop trying to hit the ball up the middle if they’ll stop throwing him sliders in the dirt.

chappy

What hurts is that it seems like GMBC doesn’t really care to win. At some point perhaps he will, but why do I now follow a team that is not building to win?

Anthony

These guys are going to live or die by their “process.” I don’t disagree with their long-term plan; however, their short-term execution has been disconcerting.

TNBucs

He might start to care if there was any pressure from Williams or Nutting to win, but his comments at the deadline about urgency are laughable, almost as if he was mocking us fans.

1979andCounting

I do think behind closed doors BC and DS do want to win 63 this season. That shows the incremental (tiny is better word) increase from 61 and short of another 100 loss season. Small goals when you have no pressure from ownership.

AdministrativeSky236

I am once again here asking for JVM to be sent far far away

TNBucs

The biggest mystery of the season. Maybe being a nice guy is enough, but having clear favorites doesn’t seem to work well for most managers or leaders in general.

1979andCounting

We know there was no IF practice with an early 12 noon game. The question for Shelton or Brock is when was the last time JVM took ground balls. That’s an easy grounder……but you can’t play a guy once a week totally cold.

AdministrativeSky236

Did JVM scare you away lol

chappy

It is sobering to see how good and YOUNG the Braves are. The Pirates are so far away…

1979andCounting

122.4 EV by Cruz……what??

ironmike56

I’m at the game behind third base dugout. That ball was knuckling downward it was hit so hard. Cruz himself looked shocked.

AdministrativeSky236

And things like that make me realize that he is probably the single most important player for our future

Anthony

I still see 1 for 4 with two k’s, and just bc I was curious, he’s struck out 33 times in his last 18 games (Aug).

chappy

Is that the hardest hit ball in the stat cast era? Insane.

AdministrativeSky236

Confirmed by mlb.com that it is

SufferinBuccotash

About time we got to see some John Vanmeter. Who wants to see that Bae dude anyway?

ArkyWags

Meatball Mitch…

AdministrativeSky236

Do yinz get the impression that the team is still playing hard or to an extent kind of mailing in the rest of the season? I thought for a while at least they were still playing to win but the last week or so hasn’t felt that way imo

TNBucs

Whether Cherington is making a mistake in bringing Shelton back is debatable but I thought he should at least have waited to see how the last 45 games went. I haven’t been able to watch these last six games due to MLB’s blackout rules (I guess I should be glad I can’t watch today’s game), but I lean to 1979’s point about the players playing hard, at least individually. However, there are other components like focus, preparation, adrenaline/energy, … that are required for success. Payers often talk about the grind of the season and while they play hard, that it’s difficult to get up for each game. That’s where a clear team leader(s) and manager need to lead. Is that happening?

They’re on their way to being 0-5 since the decision to bring back Shelton became public (or 1-5 if you want to assume the players knew before Friday’s game). That’s not an endorsement–if they go something like 12-33, could anyone make the case that Shelton should come back? I’m not ready to say they’ve quit on Shelton but I think a 12-33 stretch would be enough to convince me. I hope that it doesn’t come anywhere near to that.

1979andCounting

Well Nutting infamously gave NH his endorsement when Hurdle got fired, and then flipped a month later. I don’ t see it happening though with BC changing his mind.

ArkyWags

Great point TN. I think the rest of the season is telling and how they play for him. It wasn’t the time to announce he’s coming back.

1979andCounting

I absolutely believe the team is still playing hard……there are actual jobs and careers on the line for ’23 whether in Pittsburgh or elsewhere. Actual game focus is suspect at times and whether coaches are mailing it in is another question. The players just aren’t that good and the losing continues to snowball.

Anthony

Last sentence

docdon385

Of course the individual players are trying their best. That’s one of the reasons this is so sad, but how can anyone say a team that includes Madris, Allen and VanMeter (who’s actually the best hitter of that group) among others has any interest in winning?

docdon385

Okay maybe not all the players are trying their best. After watching VanMeter whiff on a ground ball and then make a weak and errant throw, it’s sure looking like he’s already mailed it in on the season. But the question still remains as to why he’s still on the roster?

AdministrativeSky236

Great work with the title again lol

Catch_22

I wish the Pirates offense was Fried

ArkyWags

I’d add a few more names to that list of Braves arms: Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz, Luis Gohara and Kyle Muller. In that 2017/2018 range, the Braves had a slew of young arms. Combined with the names above that’s roughly a dozen arms who were about 45’s or higher. And really the only big success stories are Fried and Wright. Soroka and Anderson have shown flashes but got hurt or have had trouble replicating early success. Most of the rest have barely scraped the majors.

The amount of pitching the Braves ended up with from farm to table is sobering. My question is, with all of those arms the Braves had, how does that compare with Pgh’s rebuild? It’s been no secret that Pgh’s rebuild is position player based. But before everyone here starts penciling in the Bucs rotation of 2024 with Keller/Brubaker/Ro/QP/Burrows, it’s highly unlikely that happens. They’re gonna need to develop a lot more potential high end arms AND get some outside the organization.

ArkyWags

I think best case, most of the Bucs arms at mid/upper levels like Nicolas, Bolton, and Jones are pen arms. Which still provides some value, but I think that’s the best they’ll be. And there ain’t enough of them.

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