Pirates Discussion: Couldn’t Find the Handle

Pirates head into an off day after losing the series to the Milwaukee Brewers.

It was a tale of two Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staffs.

Zach Thompson started the game and threw four innings of shutout baseball. He allowed three hits, a walk, and struck out five batters. He was pitching on four days rest, so he was pulled after throwing 62 pitches with 42 of them going for strikes.

Thompson wouldn’t have qualified for the win pitching only four innings, but he left the game with a lead after Ben Gamel hit a two out home run to right center field in the top of the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead.

Manny Banuelos pitching on back-to-back days came in for the fifth inning where things started to get ugly. With one out and a runner on 1B after a walk, Banuelos got Christian Yelich to hit a groundball into the shift where Ke’Bryan Hayes ranged to his left to field it. He went to tag 2B before throwing to 1B for a double play but unfortunately forgot the baseball for his 12th error of the season. This would prove costly as Willy Adames came up and hit a double that Gamel attempted to dive for (even though he wasn’t particularly close) but dropped in for a run-scoring double to make it 1-1.

In the sixth inning Miguel Yajure — who was just promoted earlier in the day — replaced Banuelos. He got lead off hitter Keston Hiura to hit a groundball to Oneil Cruz, but he threw wide of 1B, allowing Hiura to advance to second. After the runner moved to third on a groundout, Yajure got Omar Narvaez to hit a groundball to a drawn in Kevin Newman who bobbled the ball initially allowing Hiura to score the go-ahead run while Newman got the easy out at first.

Yajure returned for the seventh inning. Even though he was showing increased velocity with his fastball — touching 95.6MPH — Miguel’s command began to falter. He struck out Rowdy Tellez to begin the inning before Hunter Renfroe hit a hard single to left field. Bucco Killer Kolten Wong followed the single up by walking on five pitches. Hiura then hit a hotshot to Cruz that he couldn’t field cleanly and deflected to center field for a RBI single (wouldn’t be surprised if it’s eventually changed to an error). Yajure gave up another run before leaving as his final line would end up being 1.1 IP with five runs allowed but only four earned.

Yohan Ramirez replaced Yajure and from the get-go also did not display strong command on the evening. Ramirez walked the first three batters he faced pushing two more runs across the plate to make it 6-1 and then got the next two batters out to finish his evening with 0.2 IP while allowing both runners he inherited to score.

Robert Stephenson made his Pirates debut in the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless inning with a strike out and one hit allowed. He threw 16 pitches with 11 of them being strikes. A 4-Seam Fastball that sat 98 MPH and a Slider that averaged 84.4 MPH. They were 15 of his 16 pitches with only one Curveball thrown.

Nothing much else happened as the Pirates offense went down quietly 6-1. Newman did raise his OPS to over .700 by going 2-for-4 with a single and a double.


Now for the discussion part. The rosters expand from 26 to 28 as of today.

Who are the two players you would personally like to see be called up for the final month of the season?

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Are we allowed to talk about WVU versus Pitt here LOL


Hell of a game. MJD looked like Revis on the pick 6!


Are we not men?? We are Difo!!!! Wilmer is back in the bigs as the Dbacks just called him up today.

b mcferren

good for him

Difo would be our second best player on the team this year if he were still with us


Maybe it’s time, or past time, to start questioning just how valid and useful those stats are?


Yes, we should start questioning objective evidence. You guys are so far off the reservation.


Fellas, fellas, fellas.

Once upon a time there were some really good baseball discussions in these rooms. Lots of funny banter and wit…Now all you guys talk about is Josh VanMeter! I peak in here and want to immediately leave. 75% of the discussions are JVM and wanting to roster 30 rookies on a 26 man roster. Everyday is Groundhog day in here.

For the record, I want him DFA’d as well, but it doesn’t dominate my every thinking moment.

Last edited 23 days ago by Catch_22

Agree 100%.


It’s turned into something worse than talk radio


Yet you have to comment anytime someone mentions his name instead of just ignoring the post.

Wilbur Miller

Haha. The whole point of talk radio is to trigger the easily-triggered. Guess that works everywhere.


Yeah, try reading DK. He’s become totally unglued.


I thought that was the whole point of Josh VanMeter

Wilbur Miller

Yeah, it’s Cheringtoon’s way of saying, “I don’t give a shi*t and my boss is fine with that.”


Lets DFA jvm already


I’d pick Bae and Bolton. But I also think there should be some DFAs to get Mitchell back up. And perhaps Castillo and Swaggerty too.


Mitchell for sure. I’d also bring up Bolton to see how he handles a month in the big leagues.


Bolton is on a starter’s schedule but only pitching about two innings per start; prob not the best pitcher to bring up for an overworked and tired bullpen.

Mitchell is absolutely deserving. Love the bat, the swing kind of reminds me of Walker from the left side, but I do not care for him defensively.

I would really like to see Bae get an opportunity. He has earned it, plus he can play multiple positions defensively.


None unless they plan on playing the position player every day or pitcher in the rotation every 5th day…


Agree on the position player part, but giving a pitcher opportunities out of the pen could be a valuable part of their development and the FO’s evaluation.


1) On performance Mitchell needs to be recalled.

2) Bolton or Ovideo as pitchers with Burrows for a couple late starts when somebody gets DL’d or shutdown.

3) Most important Shelton need to be told his Van Meter has run out and towed to the junk yard….Bae comes up).

4) Gamel is semi-productive but he needs to be released for Swaggerty,

5) Allen is not good enough….release him and recall Castillo or Madris.


Agree with almost all of that but #5 needs to be tweaked. Allen is nearing age 30. He’s has never been good enough and at this stage likely never will be but do you really want Madris back? Why? He’s an average defender and even VanMeter’s numbers are better than his.

His combined average this year is worse than Allen’s and most of that was from when he first came up in June as was his 1 home run and 6 of his 7 RBI. He hit .074 in July and .128 in August with zero power and has never hit more than 9 home runs in any minor league season so the power has never been there. He’ll be 27 y/o in February and is not really a prospect at this point. There are far better choices in Indy and Altoona than Madris. Please!


I hope they’re not thinking about bringing Gamel back (that money should be spent on pitching or a Vogelbach-type who can help at DH and 1B) and if they’re not, then Allen becomes an interesting 4th OF option. This would be especially true if they, perish the thought, trade Reynolds. But carrying Allen and Gamel while Mitchell mashes AAA pitching and needs reps against major league pitching makes no sense to me.

Wilbur Miller

I’m actually not sure the VM farce is Shelton at this point. When Hurdle was in this situation with a player he was infatuated with (SRod), he’d play the guy every day hoping he’d get hot and salvage his career. Shelton has totally buried VM, doesn’t even use him to pinch hit.

I’m guessing Cheringtoon made a decision, for whatever demented reason, to keep VM on the roster until Sept., no matter what. Of course, in the next day or so it may turn out that’s not true. I have zero faith in them to take the painfully obvious step of ditching him. But they seem to “schedule” everything they do, even the Daily Dumbo Drop, far in advance.


Maybe it’s something as simple as BC traded for him rather than claimed him on waivers. Stupid either way.


I feel bad for JVM who seems like a great guy and is surely aware of how fans and possibly his teammates view his spot on the team as a kind of teacher’s pet situation. Based on some of the errors he’s made on routine plays, I’m thinking it’s gotten into his head. There have been moments where it looks like he has potential–pretty swing, hard contact, but we’re clearly not the right fit if his only chance at playing is at a position that he had no experience with. With Castro showing he belongs and Newman healthy, we need to set JVM free. Maybe a year in Japan or Korea with regular starts might be a good route for him.

Wilbur Miller

I feel bad for JVM who seems like a great guy

I’m sure he is, but it shows they’re just making the situation worse by making it so. painfully. obvious. that he’s around strictly as charity and not for any reason to do with baseball. They’re not doing him any favors.

Wilbur Miller

I think it’s more a matter of the Pirates being the traditional last stop for washed-up and never-was players who are transitioning back to the real world. They set the bar lower than any other team, so it’s inevitable.


That’s an interesting question. It makes sense that a team like the Pirates could be viewed as a last stop before going overseas.


These posts prompted me to look up a couple of these guys–Yoshi is doing well in Buffalo, though he did well in Indy too. Polanco is playing everyday and putting up above average stats in Japan, and I couldn’t be happier for him


Roster expansion is tricky this year, with the minor league clubs playing September baseball — meaning some guys you’d bring up might be better off on the farm playing every day.

So why not Drew Maggi? No story would be better.


Andrew Susac had played in the majors and was a better player in the minors than Maggi, but I’d do with Maggi something like what they did with Susac in 2020 when they brought him up for the last game of the season to show their appreciation for his work at the alternative site. Just a token appearance with a game’s worth of ABs .

Wilbur Miller

I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple guys, esp. Bae, just got token callups for the last game or two, like Cruz last year. They’ll probably focus mainly on providing Dumbo with more waiver wonder depth in the bullpen.


Mitchell and Bolton off the top of my head

or swaggerty

Last edited 23 days ago by k1rainey

Mitchell seems to be showing that there is nothing left for him to learn from facing AAA pitching. As for the second player, Bolton makes a lot of sense–not only might he help the pen but his performance might provide useful information about whether he should be kept on the 40-man for the Rule 5 Draft (though there’s also the risk of overreacting to SSS results).


I like Bolton as a pitcher, but I don’t like him as a call up for exact reasons you mention. Pitching two to three innings on a starter’s schedule; not really what a taxed bullpen needs at the end of a very very long season.


Even if Burrows is healthy, I only want to see him come up now if it has no ramifications for how long they’d leave him down in ’23. I.e., if they’re willing to start his clock now if he shows he’s ready, then great. If giving him a few weeks now could lead to him being left in AAA a few weeks longer in ’23 regardless of how he performs, then I’d wait.

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