Pirates Discussion: Crawfords Celebration

Roansy Contreras kept up his domination of playoff contenders.

On Friday evening Contreras held the St. Louis Cardinals to only one run over 5.1 innings. He used his usual heavy Fastball-Slider throwing 44 Fastballs and 31 Sliders but mixed in 21 Curveballs. The 22% Curveball usage was his highest since July 1st. Of the 31 Sliders he threw, he generated 18 swings with 6 whiffs that were his only whiffs on the evening. Contreras allowed four hits and two walks on the night with only one strikeout. He generated nine groundouts to five flyouts along with an average exit velocity of 86.7 MPH (per Baseball Savant) that has lately seen a trend downwards after sitting above 90 MPH on the year.

The offense showed up Friday. In the second inning Ben Gamel connected on a Changeup that he hit 418 FT to center field for his eighth homerun of the season to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 1-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Oneil Cruz — whose bat has been on fire in the leadoff spot — hit his third triple for the Pirates scoring Cal Mitchell and Jason Delay. Bryan Reynolds knocked in Cruz for a 4-0 lead.

The Cardinals lead off the sixth inning with a double and then a single to put runners on second and third with no outs. Corey Dickerson hit into a ground out, scoring a run, before Tyler O’Neill walked ending Contreras’ night. Manny Banuelos entered to originally face LH batter and rookie Alec Burleson, but Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol opted to bring in RH pinch hitter Albert Pujols. Banuelos uncovered that Pujols is in fact NOT a machine by getting him to hit into a double play and end the inning with a 4-1 lead intact.

Banuelos came back out for the seventh inning but would lead with a runner on first with two outs for Chase De Jong. De Jong gave up a RBI double to the first batter he faced and then struck out Paul Goldschmidt swinging to keep a 4-2 lead.

As the offense does occasionally (and by occasionally I mean rarely), they decided to add on in the 8th. Michael Chavis came up with runners on first and second, one out, and hit a two-run triple. Cal Mitchell — who went 3-for-3  with a walk on the night — followed with a RBI single before leaving for pinch runner Greg Allen. With two outs Allen moved to 2B on a wild pitch and then scored on a Cruz single to make it 8-2. Cruz ended the night 3-for-5 and raising his OPS to 730, falling just a HR shy of the cycle, three days after he fell just a triple shy of the cycle against the New York Mets.

Robert Stephenson came on for the ninth and finished off the game to seal Roansy Contreras’ fifth win of the season, and fourth as a starter tying Mitch Keller. Stephenson made quick work setting down the Cardinals’ hitter in order on only 13 pitches with one strikeout.

Cardinals @ Pirates

Time: 7:35 PM EST

Pirates Starter: JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.35)

Cardinals Starter: Jack Flaherty (0-1, 4.15)

Brubaker Notes: This will be JT Brubaker’s 26th start of the season and looking to keep pace with Keller and Contreras in SP wins. After getting knocked around by the Atlanta Braves, Brubaker was able to get back on track against the Toronto Blue Jays with two earned runs in 5.1 innings. With 132.1 IP on the season, Brubaker is already at his second highest total season innings total short of just of 2018 when he threw 154 IP.

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TNBucs

Please Ben, give us a decent bullpen next year. It’s pretty absurd that a waiver claim we made a couple of weeks ago from a bad team is now our 8th-inning guy in save situations.

As for Crowe, I hope he comes back strong next year but I have no confidence in him right now. Since being the league leader in batters faced as a reliever around the midway point of the season, he’s been bad (e.g., .779 OPS in the second “half” and that was before tonight).

Wilbur Miller

Even if the rotation continues progressing and the young hitters start reviving the dead offense, this waiver wonder garbage is going to undermine everything next year. So far, though, Cheringtoon is the only person on the planet who doesn’t realize it’s not working.

john_fluharty

Agreed. I wish they would give chances to guys who haven’t had a chance to fail yet rather than guys that have already failed for someone else.

Anthony

BC is ultimately responsible, but you have to wonder the reasoning for these claims. Is this driven by their scouting and analytics departments? What are they seeing that makes this player or that player a higher probability for success? And what is the baseline threshold for a claim w/r/t a lower probability of failure? The intention def trumps the results; either way tho, the hypotheses are null.

forkball

Some good signs, but pitching is where we lost this one

robertkasperski

Great at bat by Mitchell

TNBucs

Mitchell has looked really good since being called back up. Unfortunately, it appeared that he may have been talking to the trainer about a hammy problem when he got back to the dugout.

john_fluharty

Ugh

skliesen

Pirates bullpen…sigh.

TNBucs

With Castro, Cruz, and Suwinski hitting HRs this had the makings of a feel-good win. But then we have to go with Stephenson in the 8th and Crowe in the 9th, two guys with ERAs well above 3 and xFIPs above 4.

1979andCounting

Of course I have zero medical knowledge about Bednar, but the obvious question is why did lower back soreness take 6+ weeks on the IL? This team’s transparency just leaves so much to be desired.

1979andCounting

Couple good plays under pressure in the 9th. Chavis putting the ball in his pocket instead of throwing it around. And Heineman’s outstanding diving tag.

robertkasperski

Happy Crowe Day Y’all!!!!

![]comment image)_

1979andCounting

Last 30 appearances 5.68 era, 1.68 whip. Crowe would be a non-tender candidate for any serious bullpen. Have to get him out of the 9th inning role.

Wilbur Miller

“Serious” being the operative term. On the Pirates he’s the #2 late inning guy. Plus, Cheringtoon has to show he didn’t get completely skunked on the Bell trade.

TNBucs

And it’s amazing that even after that many appearances of very poor performance, Shelton keeps running him out there. I know he doesn’t have many other choices, but go with De Jong or Underwood or Banuelos–you can’t just stick your head in the sand and ignore things like a 5.68 ERA or an 800 OPS-allowed.

Anthony

I wonder if there is a way to mathematically apply Hurst exponents to future bullpen performance?? There almost has to be, or some version thereof given the reliance on analytics in today’s game. Nevertheless, this generally looks at a time series of data and classifies it as mean reverting, random walk, or momentum trending. Seems like an applicable analysis or tool to use for potential bullpen usage.

Last edited 22 days ago by Anthony
john_fluharty

You presume that anyone here knows what Hurst exponents are other than yourself LOL. I am interested in knowing if you wish to give the quick explain though.

Last edited 22 days ago by john_fluharty
Anthony

You can disregard the coding portion of this link, but the explanation provides a great summary. I do not calculate or estimate Hurst exponents on my own; however, I do use them (calculated from a service) when I trade the market, which is their general function in the finance world. Essentially, a Hurst exponent estimates whether a time series of data is mean reverting, completely random, or trending.

We know there is def enough data for a time series. The Hurst exponent could then tell us if a reliever’s historical/ current performance will revert to its mean (this could be positive or negative depending current versus historic), completely random (effectively a coin flip), or trending (likely to continue to trend in its current direction, i.e., hot hand or cold hand).

The maths are complex, but the concept is more straight forward.

https://towardsdatascience.com/introduction-to-the-hurst-exponent-with-code-in-python-4da0414ca52e

skliesen

Sadly, Cardinals devil magic doesn’t eat Crowe.

robertkasperski

They pretty much chew,it,up,and spit it out,,,,,

robertkasperski

And……….crap…….

1979andCounting

This may be a date to circle in your baseball memorabilia……I watched Pujois and Cruz hit HRs in the same game….in Pujois final month and Cruz’s rookie year.

john_fluharty

I’d love to know what Cruz said to Pujols after the old man made that outstanding catch.

robertkasperski

AdministrativeSky236

Cruz missile!

forkball

Okay, keep him right here

TNBucs

That HR ties PNC with Minute Maid for the park where Pujols has hit the most HRs after his home parks. Pujols has played 53 more games at Minute Maid than at PNC, so give PNC the tiebreaker as the road park where he’s hit the most HRs.

TNBucs

Not sure why Shelton didn’t challenge Molina for blocking the plate, except that maybe Shelton didn’t want to upset Yadi on his farewell tour. Frustrating end to that inning but great seeing that Suwinski hasn’t forgotten how to hit it out.

john_fluharty

And the broadcast team even mentioned it.

Last edited 22 days ago by john_fluharty
Anthony

I just watched the condensed game and thought the same exact thing regarding the play at the plate.

jon6er

I don’t want to guys to get hurt but to get the proper interpretation of the blocking the plate rule settled they need to start sliding feet first into these catchers.

TNBucs

If it had been, say, Delay instead of Molina, it would have been challenged and the run counted.

jon6er

For sure. Molina gets away with a lot but he’s just taking advantage of the senior discount these older guys get especially a catcher.

robertkasperski

Boom!!!

AdministrativeSky236

I like our lineup for today, about as strong as we can have rn!

Cobra

Want to know another thing that stinks about being a Pirate fan?

Cruz has been a major league ballplayer for less than 90 days and fans already have anxiety about locking him up long-term

Wilbur Miller

Well, some do. Others think he should be sent down.

b mcferren

#LockHimUp

docdon385

These kinds of games, although pretty rare, are teasers as to what the Pirates could be. Unfortunately I doubt the guy at the top even notices whether the team wins or not and cares even less. Spending on free agents or trades for high priced veterans is not going to happen.

Maybe, just maybe, he can be convinced that signing some of the young guys with high upside to longer term contracts will benefit him and his bottom line down the road because clearly that’s all he cares about.

Oneil Cruz is going to be a superstar player for some team soon and for a long time to come. Initially that team will be the Pirates but, unless he’s signed to a long term deal quickly, before long the question will become when can he be traded for the best return instead of when can he win an MVP in Pittsburgh?

Keeping Cruz in a Pirate uniform for as long as possible has to be a priority even for Nutting. Having a unique player like him will bring positive national attention to the team and city and might even lead to more fans for the Pirates from outside of Pittsburgh. The NY media have already noticed his appeal to fans everywhere and that can only increase as he gets even better, and he will. That kind of attention alone has to lead to increased revenue through merchandise sales if nothing else, doesn’t it? At least that’s an idea to pitch to ownership.

If Nutting can be convinced that signing Cruz to a long term deal (more like Wander Franco or Julio Rodriquez than Hayes) will benefit him and his bottom line every year for the next 10 years, it could happen. I do not want to see Cruz playing for the Yankees, Dodgers or anyone else. Come on, it will be good for business Bob and make you even richer. Sign him now!!!

AdministrativeSky236

I know I am dreaming, but cruz to RF, reynolds in left, and swaggy in center has the potential to be a very good defensive outfield

Anthony

Has Cruz really done enough, or anything, to justify an extension in the ballpark of $17M per year? Wander and Julio are nearly 2x more productive AND younger. If an extension offer is made, which I would not be completely opposed to despite the contact issues and defensive uncertainty, it would need to be at least half of what those guys are making per year given Cruz’s risk profile.

ArkyWags

I’m not sure. Extensions are a gamble by both team and player. I agree that he certainly isn’t as good as Wander or Julio now, but as great as they are, Oneil’s ceiling might be higher. I’d certainly start looking at an extension.

TNBucs

There doesn’t need to be as much risk as we typically associate with extensions:

  1. We have payrolls tens of millions below what peers in terms of revenue have been spending–there’s room for a bad contract here and there without it leading to us being unable to compete due to lack of payroll. We just can’t have too many bad contracts.
  2. Other teams have shown how easy it is to trade a bad contract to a wealthy team by attaching a good prospect(s) or MLB player and if the build/rebuild is successful, then we should have enough depth to do the same without it putting us too far back.
Anthony

Agreed. Technically, he prob has one of the highest ceilings of any player in the game today. But yeah, the risk or probability of him achieving that ceiling is also off the charts high. The old risk reward paradigm, and these are all-or-nothing bets. Glad it’s not my money lol.

robertkasperski

Enough to start thinking about it. Both Franco and Rodriguez each have a lot more ABs than Cruz does and this is Franco’s 2nd season. If Cruz continues to hit through the end of the year like he has his last 15 games then it would be wise to approach him with an extension this off season.

TNBucs

I was scanning a couple of extension trackers and while Franco and Rodriguez may be in another tier, and it’s hard to imagine the Pirates committing anything near $200MM to a player anyway, here are some recent extensions that might be in the neighborhood of what an extension could look like:

  1. Michael Harris $72MM/8 years with two team options (adding 4 years of control).
  2. Yordan Alvarez $115MM/6 years (adding 3 years of control).
  3. Ke’Bryan $70MM/8 years with a team option (adding 4 years of control).

Comparing Harris and Alvarez is interesting. The Astros bought out 3 years of free agency and the Braves can do the same by implementing the first of the two options at $15MM. So essentially the Braves can have Harris through the first three years of when he could have been a FA for $87MM while the Astros had to commit $115 for the same. The Braves took on more risk given that Alvarez had already shown himself to be a 3+ WAR player over several seasons but then Harris’s defensive value gives him a high floor much like Hayes. Coincidentally, Harris and Alvarez are both putting up ~5 WAR seasons this year.

Anyway, these deals would seem be in the range of what I’d expect a Cruz extension to look like–could Cruz turn down a deal modeled after the NL’s soon-to-be ROY? But if he or the Pirates want to take it year-to-year, there’s nothing wrong with that–the Yankees and Judge ended up going that route and who knows if the Yankees would be getting the monster year from Judge if he wasn’t in his FA year?

1979andCounting

Good comps TN. Interesting convo to be had the last few weeks of the season. Stider is going to be ROY with Harris 2nd…..which actually benefits us immensely. Will not lose a year of control with Cruz finishing 3rd.

Anthony

And comps 1 and 3 put him approximately one-half of Wander and Julio…bingo, bango, bongo!!

AdministrativeSky236

Would be very happy with something along these lines!

TNBucs

Yeah, if you look at Rodriguez’s stats when he had the number of PAs Cruz has had, their stats are very similar. Rodriguez took off from there but maybe we’re seeing the same thing from Cruz this month.

I wouldn’t put Cruz in Rodriguez’s and Franco’s class (not yet at least), but the concept of an early extension is good. Cruz may not be at their level, but we don’t have those guys and we have Cruz 😉

But nothing wrong with giving him a year or two until we make an offer, as long as that doesn’t price Nutting out.

robertkasperski

I know that he is not in their class yet. That is why I prefaced it wit if he continues hitting like he has thru the rest of the season and if he does extend him!

TNBucs

Oh I know you know that–I was just making clear that I didn’t think that either even though I do like the idea of an early extension.

Wilbur Miller

I don’t understand why the Cards didn’t wear St. Louis Stars unis. Seems an obvious thing to do. Half-assery is always the MLB way.

TNBucs

? They did, or am I missing something?

Wilbur Miller

Yeah, you’re right. I watched the highlights and thought it was their regular unis. Of course, I only watched Pirate highlights. And maybe I like the Crawfords unis better.

ArkyWags

Those and the Grays ones are awesome. Frankly all old uniforms are better.

TNBucs

The Cardinals essentially have the Central wrapped up and a 99.5% chance of making the playoffs according to Fangraphs, but it would build a little momentum/confidence for next year if we could at least split the remaining eight games we have with them.

And speaking of playoff odds, it’s not looking like there will be much excitement down the stretch other than in the AL Central. In the NL, there are six teams with an 88.5% chance or higher of making the playoffs with the Brewers all the way down to 18.5% and everyone else at 0. There is some intrigue as to whether the Mets or Braves get the second bye.

In the AL, there are five teams with a 97.7% chance or better with the AL Central winner to join them in the playoffs. There is also some intrigue in whether the Rays can catch the Yankees and earn the second bye.

I like the expanded playoffs and especially that there is no single-game WC, but I’m sure this first year hasn’t lived up to what they hoped for in terms of exciting races.

john_fluharty

Don’t mind the Cards since La Russa is not manager. They have a knack for finding really good players.

jimmyz

Last series of the year the Bucs host the Cards at PNC Park. All I’m really hoping for the rest of this year is for Pujols to be sitting on 699 dingers when that series starts and for me to be at the game he hits 700.

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