Pirates Discussion: Ro Day Has Returned

The Pittsburgh Pirates homestand did not start off on the right foot.

Mitch Keller who has been one of the Pirates most consistent starters didn’t look right from the get go. His velocity was significantly down and the Boston Red Sox knocked him around. Keller managed to only last two innings while giving up five runs of which four were earned. The Pirates ended up pulling him after the second inning due to right shoulder fatigue.

The game didn’t really have much action after the first two innings. Chase De Jong threw four innings of shut out ball in relief of Keller which saved the bullpen a lot. Austin Brice followed De Jong’s four hitless innings with two of his own and then Manny Banuelos threw a hitless ninth while collecting three strikeouts.

The offense that had only one hit through seven innings against Nick Pivetta. They finally broke through in the eighth against the Red Sox bullpen. That bullpen arm being former Pirates LHP Austin Davis.

With one out, Jason Delay kicked things of with a single to center. Tucupita Marcano then walked on four pitches, before Kevin Newman dropped a ball into LF to load the bases. This brought up Bryan Reynolds who was coming off a huge game on Sunday where he collected five RBI’s. In this at bat Reynolds struck out looking on a pitch that he wasn’t very happy with. Frustrated with the third called strike, Reynolds lashed out and ended up being quickly tossed by the home plate umpire. Ben Gamel would then step to the plate and lace a 2-2 pitch to RF for a bases clearing double bringing the five run deficit to a 5-3 game. Kevin Padlo — fresh off a promotion — would then be replaced by Josh Vanmeter who flied out to center on the first pitch he saw.

That was unfortunately all the offense the Pirates could muster and they went down quietly 5-3.

The bigger storyline is with regards to Keller’s health. He had turned things around and was quickly becoming the most consistent starter of the staff. If Keller is to miss any significant time then things may quickly turn grim as the depth beyond Roansy Contreras isn’t very strong.

To finish on a high note as he did Tuesday night, Manny Banuelos has been a very strong addition to the bullpen. He didn’t fare well in his first appearance lasting only a third of an inning while giving up five earned runs. Since then he’s given up only one earned run through 13 IP while also only allowing two of nine inherited runners to score.

Red Sox @ Pirates

Time: 7:05 PM EST

Pirates Starter: Roansy Contreras (3-2, 3.78)

Red Sox Starter: Rich Hill (4-5, 4.75)

Contreras Notes: Roansy Contreras makes his long awaited return to the majors for his 10th MLB start on the season after checking all his boxes in Triple-A. During his recent stay in Indianapolis, Contreras made a total of four starts giving up six earned runs across 14.0 IP. In those 14.0 IP he struckout 22 batters while only walking two. Sitting at 84.1 IP on the season between MLB and the minors, Roansy has already surpassed his 2021 innings total of 61.0 IP — 75.0 IP if you count his fall league innings — between stops in Altoona, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh.

UPDATE: Contreras and Heineman return

UPDATE #2: Injury updates

LINEUPS:

Pirates

Red Sox

1. Tommy Pham LF
2. Rafael Devers 3B
3. Xander Bogaerts SS
4. Alex Verdugo RF
5. JD Martinez DH
6. Eric Hosmer 1B
7. Christian Arroyo 2B
8. Reese McGuire C
9 Kiké Hernández CF
SP. Rich Hill

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Wilbur Miller

Relegation looks better and better.

jon6er

I would guess you aren’t referring to a British definition of relegation, lol.
the transfer of a sports team or player to a lower division of a league.
“the team manager refuses to throw in the towel and admit that relegation is inevitable”

1979andCounting

The key AB came from Padlo in the 7th. We had lead off on, trailing 4-2. Padlo had 2-0 count and twice swung at ball 4. He’s way too aggressive, trying to do too much with his cup of coffee. We just have to stop the dumpster dives in 2023……and the tryout mentality.

bucsws2014

When Familia becomes available this offseason, I do hope BC doesn’t see him as a bounceback candidate. He simply cannot pitch at PNC.

TNBucs

I’m a little surprised they let Contreras throw 90 pitches after they’d been keeping his pitch counts much lower in the minors. I think he threw 71 in his last outing and that was his highest amount. The jump from 71 to 90 isn’t huge, but then major league pitches are more stressful (or so many have claimed), so the jump might be greater than the difference alone would suggest.

docdon385

Wehner really nailed it with Madris. He’s just unlucky. That’s why he’s hitting .075 since July 1st. If only he had better luck he might be able to hit nearly .100.

1979andCounting

Hill retires 12 in a row and then is outwardly upset at allowing a soft single by Castro. If we had some pitchers with that level of competitiveness (yeah talking to you Mitch), that would be a pitcher to keep and extend.

slider1971

Madris now sitting at a .495 OPS, almost 70 pts lower than Van Meter. Probably time to switch out Madrid with Swaggerty!

john_fluharty

I agree he needs to be switched out with someone but I’m not sure that’s Swaggerty at this point. He’s still striking out a lot in AAA.

Wilbur Miller

Dumbo has a bizarre obsession with playing whoever on the roster is struggling the worst at 1B every day. Just one of about ten thousand things with the Pirates that all the world’s philosophers could spend centuries trying to understand.

rotenjon1

the pirates are who we thought they would be

1979andCounting

Wehner spot on with the Bogarts AB. Wish he was more than part-time color guy.

Wilbur Miller

I watched the vid of the HR. (I always watch BRey’s dingerz. His swing is just too purty. Somebody should do a hologram of his swing and put it in a museum for posterity.) It was a bad pitch, which is not good with somebody like him up.

1979andCounting

B-Rey complains about calls more than any other Pirate. Almost seems to be an anger management candidate. I think it hurts his ABs more than helps him.

1979andCounting

Cruz report: Rich Hill is still pitching?! I like Cruz on the bench vs a soft tosser like Hill. Good call Shelty. Newman will also catch ALL pop-ups that need to be caught.

hoffmark83

After the top 3, this is a blah lineup. Then again this is a blah team.

NMR

Eckersley called out what I’ve been screaming into the void all season.

Giving legitimate prospects time to figure it out is good.

Giving shitty prospects scholarships turns your big league club into a laughingstock.

These kids suck. Ted f*ckin Williams couldn’t get them to hit. They’d barely be an above average AAA club if they were in the league they belong.

Giving studs like Oneil Cruz time to figure it out is one thing. Loading up your roster with dudes who have the upside of bench players you can buy cheap every offseason is another.

It’s not the coaches. It sure as shit isn’t the veterans. It’s the kids. The kids suck.

Last edited 1 month ago by NMR
TNBucs

I took Eckersley’s comments to mainly be about a roster that includes veterans Allen, Chavis, Gamel, Newman, Padlo, and VanMeter who have very little upside. Maybe you could toss guys like Delay and Madris into his “hodgepodge” but it seemed more a jab at Cherington’s acquisitions (and Cherington is probably not that popular in Boston even though he won a WS there).

NMR

LOVE this question.

I’m sure this is extremely unconvincing, but surface-level performance year-to-year is the absolute last thing I’d use to judge the job a coach has done. Way, waaayyyy too much variation to draw any sort of signal from that.

I wasn’t enamored with the hire in the first place, and certainly don’t any allegiances to him, but I’m also not convinced he’s been given the kind of talent that anyone could make work.

That being said, shit like that tweet you linked is exactly what gets my attention!

slider1971

I agree with your assessment!
I’m curious to hear who you think the ‘legitimate” prospects are we should be giving playing time to?

NMR

Oneil Cruz. And only if the show is really the best place for him to figure it all out.

That’s it.

If you’re not projected to be an average or better big leaguer, I really don’t know why the entire organization’s commitment to winning should be put on hold for an arbitrary amount of time in order for you to reach your upside as a bench bat. Just doesn’t make sense.

Also think Jack has earned his platoon role, but the rest of them should be competing with actual big league talent for the privilege of getting more at bats.

ArkyWags

I was gonna add Jack to that list. Guys who are 40+ prospects or higher have to hit well from the get go.

Wilbur Miller

The false assumption here is that the choice is between rookies and average major leaguers. Not in Pittsburgh, it isn’t. Cheringtoon put his “commitment to winning” on hold the day he took the job, then he deep-sixed it when he acquired VM, Marisnick and Knapp, none of whom projected to resemble average or better major leaguers even remotely. Cheringtoon has yet to show the ability to find even replacement level players, much less avg ones. I don’t see anybody who projects to be within light years of average who’s sitting behind Tucupita Marcano. All I see is VM and . . . what? Taylor Davis? Drew Maggi? Exactly who is it who should be playing ahead of the rookies now? Any names? Who are these guys who could reaffirm this organization’s “commitment to winning?”

The idea of pointing to any particular source for the Pirates’ mountain of problems is foolish in its own right. The problem isn’t veterans, or rookies, or coaching. All roads lead to Rome, which in this case is Cheringtoon. All we’re really arguing about here is which flavor of Ben & Derry’s sh*t stew is the worst.

NMR

No argument here, my comment was more forward looking than backward. They’re gonna start next year in the same exact position they started this year, they should do it better.

NMR

I wanna believe, man, I really do. Just not seein’ it.

ArkyWags

Mason Martin would kill for a six week heater in the snow like Big Hack Jack had.

ArkyWags

Splitting hairs on the month of August thing. I’ve said this a zillion times, but it always amazes me that many posters thought Swag would seamlessly step into a starting job in June 2022. After essentially two missed seasons and a dozen games above high A ball. And this wasn’t a guy who tore it up in high A in 2019 (although he ended up doing solidly). Aside from one’s own wishcasting, what was there in his profile that suggested that was a possible outcome for him? Maybe for 2023, but not this season.

slider1971

Completely agree with you here B&P- Swaggerty and Suwinski should be in the major League lineup almost everyday from here on out. It’s plain stupidity to continue giving Gamel AB’s as an impending FA. Madrid and Allen could be potential bench bats next year but regular AB’s are crucial to development for these two rookies.

skliesen

You and Eckersley may be right. I freely admit you both know more about this subject than I do. However, it can’t be denied Pirates coaching has done these prospects no favors. Almost to a man, they come up and do well at first, then the Pitchers adjust, and the players don’t re-adjust with any success. Competent coaches would help the kids change their approach to have success against what Pitchers are doing to get them out. This is definitely missing in Pittsburgh these days.

NMR

I hear you, but to what end, Scott?

Oneil was the only one of this bunch projected to be even an average big league hitter.

Dude’s who start out hot only to regress to the levels they were projected to perform at doesn’t seem like a failure of coaching to me. Of course I’d love the magic sauce that turns grade 40 players into everyday big leaguers, I just don’t see anyone out there doing that with any sort of consistency.

KeBryan is the only legit coaching failure I can point to, and that one ultimately requires the player’s buy-in to completely overhaul the swing he’s always succeeded with. I don’t have any sympathy for the org because they could be transparent about such things and intentionally aren’t, but it’s a legit question of whether they’re trying and the player isn’t responsive.

AdministrativeSky236

Seems like the plan was to get a bunch of 40/45 FV guys and let them all compete hoping a few separate themselves and take a position for keeps… has not exactly transpired like that though so far

SBRO

But they even mucked that plan up by not only desperately claiming/trading for VanMeter and Marisnick, but playing them frequently as well, which of course limited the playing time these 40/45 FV guys ever got.

If you’re going to play the kids, play the kids and take your lumps. If you’re going to make the kids earn it, then for God’s sake your yardstick needs to be better than John VanFuckingMeter or Jake Marisnick.

NMR

Bingo. And now they’ve gotta wear it. There should be some kind of accountability here.

Wilbur Miller

Tex fired Jon Daniels. Accountability is in the air. Somewhere. Out there.

AdministrativeSky236

Interesting to me after they just let him go spend 500mil on FA last winter. Do haines and shelton next, though marin has shown some and I think BC deserves more time

ArkyWags

As President, yeah. Wasn’t he the GM awhile before that promotion to President?

slider1971

Speaking of Dejan, he went on a podcast rant yesterday saying Haines has to go. I couldn’t agree more with him on this front. Almost every hitter on this team has regressed and their minor league success does not transfer over to the majors. Take Marcano and Castillo as examples. Both thee guys were acquired with elite walk/strikeout rates. Both had several MILB seasons with K rates in the single digits and plate discipline was considered a strength. Both now have major league K rates in the 26-28% range now. All the young players have adopted this sell out for power and as a result we now have several players with batting averages hovering around .200
it’s also weird that the Brewers fired him (only coach fired) after they won their division?

NMR

Haines might not be the best guy for the job, but you’re stuck in a Pirates Prospects bubble if you think those examples are illustrative of his failure.

Based on that minor league success you mention, ZiPS projected Tucu to post an OPS+ of just 70. 30% below league average. He’s exceeded that so far, with a wRC+ of 76. I can’t fathom how anyone can watch Tucu and think, man, this kid’s problem is that he’s selling out for power. He can barely punch his way out of a wet paper bag.

Diego Castillo is performing a bit worse, but he himself was only projected to post an OPS+ of 80 and barely ever showed an ability in the minors to post even average walk rates.

Major League pitching in unbearably good, and these prospects were fringey at best. This is how the game works.

Wilbur Miller

I’ve been agreeing with Dejan a lot lately. Freaking scary.

Wilbur Miller

I noticed both Dejan and Mackey have columns today that, boiled down, amount to criticisms of the Pirates’ incredible complacency. I feel kinda vindicated because I’ve been talking about that all year.

docdon385

You and everyone else. Shelton simply has to go. His nonchalant reaction to Reynolds ejection last night pretty much exemplifies his leadership. Nonexistent. This team will never progress with him in that role.

TNBucs

He’s a nice guy (though too quick to blame others when things go wrong (execution!), and take credit when things go right (we’ve been working on…) who players seem to genuinely like and is probably a good coach (he seemed to be well regarded in past jobs but I’m always a little skeptical of the good ole boy network–because he was a coach under Maddon he had a lot of doors open for him).

But I’ve seen nothing to show that he was ready to be a manager or that he’s grown enough to be retained. It’s not unusual for good managers to need to have failed in a first stint, reflect, and then do better in a second opportunity. Here’s hoping that opportunity to reflect begins this offseason.

roibert.kasperski

I love how guys like DK will refuse to debate someone and defend their positions or the changing thereof. Instead they choose to just not speak to you anymore and take the easy way out and block you.

Wilbur Miller

Blocked by DK? You get a second Stargell Star!

Wilbur Miller

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