Pirates Discussion: Double Header Full of Heat

Wednesday’s afternoon matchup is a fun one.

It’s a Roansy Contreras start, which itself is a headliner. This will also be the first time the Pittsburgh Pirates face their 2016 1st round pick (41st overall) prep pitcher Nick Lodolo, who didn’t sign. Lodolo decided to head to TCU which paid off in the end as he was then drafted 7th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in 2019.

******

On Tuesday the Pirates and Reds played a pair of games where the Pirates kept piling on the long ball in Cincy.

Johan Oviedo started game one for the Pirates and had his best start for them to date. Oviedo tossed five scoreless innings with two walks and four strikeouts, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning. That would in fact be the Reds sole hit against Oviedo. 65 of his 74 pitches were either a fastball or slider, with his fastball reaching as high as 99.7 MPH.

Bryan Reynolds got the Pirates on the board first with an RBI single in the third inning, knocking in Michael Chavis who lead off the inning with a single.

In the fourth inning, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit his first HR of the season since August 7th, for his 7th of the year and a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth inning, Reynolds wanted another steak and connected for his 23rd HR of the season.

Cal Mitchell, who has been on fire since his recall, hit a two-run HR in the sixth just after Chavis doubled to give the Pirates a 5-0 lead.

Zach Thompson took over in the bottom of the sixth and would give up hits to the first two batters he faced. Fortunately Jonathan India was thrown out attempting to advance to 2B (my assumption is he didn’t expect the ball to be thrown directly into 2B as he wasn’t even close) with TJ Friedl advancing to 3B and would score on a groundout from the next batter.

Thompson pitched 2.2 innings in total with only the one earned run given up. Manny Banuelos replaced Thompson in the 8th and finished with 1.1 scoreless innings and one strikeout.

The Pirates would add another run in the top of the 9th on back-to-back doubles by Hayes and Ben Gamel for the games final score of 6-1.

******

Luis Ortiz pitched game two for his MLB debut and he came out firing. He was hitting 98-99 from the get go, and flashed triple digits by the second batter with his fastball.

It didn’t stop there either as he was still upper 90’s into the sixth inning. Luis Ortiz filled the strike zone with 56 of his 88 pitches going for strikes. He threw a total of 53 fastballs and 27 sliders with three changeups mixed in. Ortiz generated 11 whiffs for a total of 26 called strikes and whiffs. Unfortunately he couldn’t finish the sixth and barely missed out on claiming his first big league victory in his debut. Through 5.2 IP he allowed only a single hit, three walks, and five strike outs. Of balls put in play, he had an average exit velocity of 82.7 MPH (per Baseball Savant).

Chase De Jong came in for Ortiz in the sixth inning and stranded the lone inherited runner on a first pitch flyout. In the top of the seventh inning Rodolfo Castro scored the only run after hitting a double and coming home on a Kevin Newman single. De Jong then pitched the bottom of the inning to complete his 1.1 innings with one walk and one strike out.

Yohan Ramirez pitched the bottom of the eighth and retired all three batters on 14 pitches with one strike out. In keeping the appearances short on this day, Derek Shelton used Duane Underwood Jr. for the ninth and Underwood closed it out on 16 pitches for his first save of the season.

The Pirates managed to only use five bullpen arms in total for the double header which leaves them rather fresh for a quick turnaround into Wednesday’s early game.

Not sure who had Oviedo and Ortiz combining for 10.2 scoreless innings with only two hits allowed on their bingo card (no one’s hand should be raised), but it was a very welcoming day from the young starters.

Pirates @ Reds

Time: 12:35 PM EST

Pirates Starter: Roansy Contreras (5-4, 3.29)

Reds Starter: Nick Lodolo (4-5, 3.78)

Contreras Notes: Roansy Contreras has been on a recent stretch of facing expected playoff teams. He’ll finally get a slight break against the Reds who have the 21st offense in the MLB with a .692 OPS. His previous four starts were against four of the top six in MLB by OPS. His previous five starts were all top five if you want to include the Boston Red Sox. Contreras last faced the Reds on July 7th where he went six innings with seven strike outs and one earned run.

LINEUPS:

Pirates

Reds

1. TJ Friedl (L) LF
2. Jonathan India (R) 2B
3. Kyle Farmer (R) 3B
4. Donovan Solano (R) 1B
5. Aristides Aquino (R) RF
6. Nick Senzel (R) CF
7. Spencer Steer (R) DH
8. Jose Barrero (R) SS
9. Austin Romine (R) C

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ricramer

What happened to Newman?

TNBucs

First four-game sweep of Shelton’s tenure, and coming off of the disappointing losses on Saturday and Sunday, credit to him and the team to show up in Cincy ready to play.

Mtgj

Could easily be 7 in a row if the bullpen was competent in St. Louis. Those 2 losses were hard to watch

TNBucs

I was thinking this too, and how excited we would be if we could string together that many wins. This weekend should be interesting. We’re playing well and the Mets just got swept at home by the Cubs and are surely feeling pressure from the Braves. We’ve been terrible against playoff-bound teams (13-37, and 8-36 if you take out our unexplainable 5-1 against the Dodgers); playing well in NYC could build some momentum for next year. We of course have six games left with the Cardinals, but by then they may be locked into their playoff position so this coming week might be our last chance to beat good teams when they still have something to play for.

Wilbur Miller

So in 15.1 IP against our bullpen, the Reds got four runs. Wow, they really suck.

robertkasperski

Is 7 enough to protect the sweep?

Wilbur Miller

Blowout now. Ruck the Feds and their ugly ballpark.

TNBucs

I just watched the highlight of Castro’s HR and Brown’s commentary that seemed to be criticizing Castro for watching his HR seemed odd. First, Brown reported that Pujols told Castro to just run when he hits one out (so for Pujols, I guess it’s do as I say, not as I do or maybe it’s only these damn millennials that need to run) and second, Brown just seems to jump on Castro for the least little perceived insult to the game. Get on him if he doesn’t run out a popup that leads to an extra out, but otherwise let him be himself.

I watched again, and I guess Brown is okay. But Pujols giving that advice seems weird though I know we’re not supposed to criticize Pujols this year.

Last edited 19 days ago by TNBucs
mpg43952

Greg Brown never wore a wet jock strap in his life. Quit criticizing the young guys, they’re the best thing about this season.

john_fluharty

Didn’t take the comment as critical as you did, but in my opinion he did stand her a bit long. As for Pujols, just chalk it up to being older and wiser.

b mcferren

I like how Castro and Cruz have a home run competition going on

Those two dudes push each other in a positive way

In my mind, Castro is taking away Hayes’ job

skliesen

Taking Hayes job so they can play whom exactly at 2B? Newman? Marcano? Chavis? Castillo?

Pirates aren’t benching Hayes, who they just invested a ton of money in, to play one of the guys I mentioned.

b mcferren

Nicky Sticks, Endy, Peguero

the list is long and it seems Hayes is not in the long term picture

skliesen

Seems that Hayes isn’t in long-term picture? Dude, they just signed him to an extension this year.

As for the guys you mentioned, all will be held down until Super 2 passes.

Hayes will be starting 3B and Castro starting 2B next year to start season.

robertkasperski

If Hayes was not in the long term picture, they would not have signed him long term in my opinion,
Endy is going to be behind the plate a bunch along with Hank once he is ready for the show.They will both prolly DH some too.

Last edited 19 days ago by robertkasperski
john_fluharty

Going to give Hayes more of a chance to show he’s got some more than that bat. Hoping some swing changes can help him out a bit.

TNBucs

I don’t think Hayes’ job is in jeopardy but Bae may be pushed to be a Zobrist-type super-utility guy, which actually seems like a good fit for him (implication being that I’m penciling in Castro as our 2B next season).

Last edited 19 days ago by TNBucs
Anthony

This off-season will def be interesting. As it stands right now, there is just too much redundancy on the 40-man.

AdministrativeSky236

Eh if anything i think castro is making himself the front runner to start at 2B next year, hayes’ job isnt in any danger this season

robertkasperski

I can see Castro at 2nd and keep it until other guys starts pushing their way to the show. If Peguero gets back on track and he starts hitting like he did again prior to his trip to the show, they will need a spot for him. Bae, Nick Termarr and others may have a thing or two to say about the pecking order too. Hope they others in the pipeline develop. Bae and Castro both could end up super utility guys and still play a lot liked Harrison did for the Bucs and Zobrist for other teams. Play a ton of games giving guys days off around the diamond. They just need to be able to keep hitting to do that. It will all depend on how other guys develop.

AdministrativeSky236

Best case is they all push each other and we end up with a handful of above average regulars for cheap depth and even can flip one or two for other needs

robertkasperski

Boom!!

TNBucs

Cruz couldn’t leave the bandbox without hitting one out!

robertkasperski

Needed to make up ground on Castro and the OPS Race. Oneil closed to within 6 points with that one 😁

robertkasperski

And Cruz singles and now he leads by 12 😁

Anthony

Imagine if either one could just talk a walk…

TNBucs
chappy

Why sac bunt? You gain so little and lose an out. Just dumb baseball.

TNBucs

I like the choice a little better with Chavis the baserunner and Newman up, especially since it should mean Cruz gets to bat with a RISP if Jack doesn’t come through.

TNBucs

🙂

TNBucs

Especially with Allen on base, who should be able to steal.

AdministrativeSky236

In contrast to the bucs pulling ro early, i have no idea why the reds are leaving a promising young arm like lodolo to start an inning 101 pitches in during a lost season

AdministrativeSky236

Jk mightve just been to strike cruz out again

chappy

C’mon Bleede, you can do this!

TNBucs

Any concern that Contreras was lifted after only 55 pitches?

Wilbur Miller

Mackey said it was planned.

Meanwhile, Beede still sucks. Not that it matters because the rest of the pen does, too.

TNBucs

Since he’s returned from AAA, his pitch counts have been 90, 89, 89, 92, and 96. On the one hand, it seems strange to plan on ~60 pitches after being at ~90 pitches every other outing. On the other hand, five straight starts with at least 89 pitches seems like a pretty heavy load for how they’ve handled him this year and it makes sense to give him a lighter game.

Wilbur Miller

I think it’s accepted now that pitches under stress are more troubling than just total pitches. Ro has mostly buzzed through his starts.

TNBucs

Yeah, pitch counts are surrogates for us fans who don’t have access to better measures of stress. But I was surprised that his first outing back they let him throw as many pitches as they did, and it’s reasonable that there is some concern about workload even if we don’t know what it’s based on. Maybe their measure of stress from Friday’s game, given the quality of the lineup he faced, was higher than even the pitch count would suggest. Also, it seems his FB velocity is down a tick from where it was when he first came back…coincidentally, I just noticed that the velocity on Yajure’s last FB (94.6) topped Ro’s average today (94.5)–a good sign for Yajure.

AdministrativeSky236

Really learning how thin our pen is behind bednar, yerry, and holderemann lol

Wilbur Miller

Cheringtoon’s done a real bang-up job there. I didn’t think it was possible for a GM to get so little production out of so many roster spots used on relievers.

TNBucs

it seems to be his Achilles’ heel, or at least one of them (I guess he’s allowed two Achilles’ heels). His other might be finding a first baseman that is a consistent run producer, which was one of Huntington’s Achilles’ heels.

john_fluharty

The thing is there’s a lot more people involved in the process than Cherrington. He just signs off on someone else’s decision, it makes the final decision with a lot of other input. But ultimately it his responsibility to see when a process isn’t working and identify fixes to that process.

Last edited 19 days ago by john_fluharty
Wilbur Miller

No mo’ Ro today. His success is jeopardizing Bob’s wallet.

jon6er

In 14 starts since his May 24th recall he had thrown less then 76 pitches once and that was when he threw 52 in 1.2 innings against Milwaukee on July 1st. The “wins don’t matter” crew of Walk and Brown were really tripping over themselves explaining why he was being taken out after 4 innings and 55 pitches. Wins and losses still matter to the pitchers the same as home runs and rbi’s still matter to the batters. This is one pathetic organization the whole way through.

AdministrativeSky236

I won’t justify pulling ro at this point, but i really doubt pitchers get hung up on if they get credited with wins or not

jon6er

I said I believe it still matters to them and made no mention of whether or not they get hung up on it. I just don’t agree that personal accomplishments no longer matter to athletes just because the world of analytics is now declaring what matters and what doesn’t.

robertkasperski

Cruz needs to answer next inning. That blast put Castro up 24 points in the OPS race.

robertkasperski

Welp down 27 now.

NMR

2 at bats, 11 pitches, 2 swigs, both at curveballs in 2-strike counts. stared at 4 pitches in his hottest hitting zones. maddening when he decides to take entire at bats/games off.

Anthony

He’s obv “thinking” too much at the plate. During his heater the last couple weeks, he was being way more aggressive and attacking pitches earlier in the count. Not sure how/why he changed his “plan”.

NMR

I’m never sure where he falls on the thinking too much-doesn’t pick up the ball spectrum.

Somewhere in between, I’m sure.

Yesterday though he was just completely overmatched by Lodolo, simple as that.

PirateRican21

You do you Castro, you do you!

robertkasperski

BOOM!!!!

PirateRican21

Bugs is showing off the pitcher, needs to get one on the back on his next at bat!

NMR

#rodolfo

chappy

Lodolo looks awesome. Too bad we let him get away.

NMR

nightmare matchup for Oneil, surprised he didn’t get the day off.

Last edited 19 days ago by NMR
robertkasperski

@ learning experience. Gotta see the wicked lefty stuff and figure out to deal with it.

PirateRican21

I say bunt every time.

robertkasperski

That was a pretty efficient 1st inning for Ro. 😁

skliesen

In the grand scheme of things it’s pretty meaningless, but I sure am rooting for Pirates to finish ahead of Reds.

Let’s go Ro!

chappy

I think today is a little taste of being good again. We are in line for a sweep and sending out a pitcher who gives confidence that there is a good chance for a victory.

jon6er

Probably no sweep, taking Roansy out after 4 innings.

robertkasperski

Happy Ro Day Y’all!!!!

jon6er

Must see tv, lol.

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