Pirates Discussion: Ro Dominates, Offense Falters

One of the few bright spots has been getting to watch Roansy Contreras pitch every fifth night.

In his fourth start since returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 17th, he continued to showcase his talent.

What has been most impressive has been the team’s he has faced. He allowed only two earned runs across seven innings against the Atlanta Braves, tossed five scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, and then Saturday night he completed six innings while only allowing one earned run to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Across Roansy’s six innings he allowed four hits, walked two batters, and struck out five hitters. He threw 92 pitches of which 65 were strikes (71%). As would be expected, 81 of his 92 pitches were either Fourseam Fastball or Slider, with the Slider leading the count 42 times. He also threw 10 Curveballs and a single changeup. The Blue Jays had an average exit velocity of 85.2 MPH which is a strong sign for Contreras as he’s so far had an above average EV in his starts, but has recently seen those numbers dropping below league average in individual games.

The offense didn’t do too much to help Contreras, as he had a brief 1-0 lead, and the offense never scored again. In the bottom of the third, Jason Delay hit a one-out single that was followed by an Oneil Cruz run-scoring triple. The triple itself was pretty amazing as it was on a ball out of the zone that Cruz had no business making contact on, let alone driving it to right center for a triple.

The game was tied 1-1 after six innings when Contreras left the game for Duane Underwood Jr. Underwood Jr. walked the bases loaded after getting the second out of the inning. Bo Bichette worked the count full and on the tenth pitch of the at-bat he drove a Cutter to left field that emptied the bases for a 4-1 lead. That would be the last batter that Underwood Jr. would face as Robert Stephenson would be brought on to finish the inning and he struck out Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Stephenson came back out for the eighth inning and hit the first batter. Santiago Espinal left the game for a pinch runner, and his replacement Whit Merrifield was thrown out trying to steal second base. Stephenson finished off the inning with a flyout and a strike out. He’d finish his evening pitching 1.1 innings with the hit by pitch and two strikeouts.

Manny Banuelos was tabbed for the ninth and he got through it quickly on only seven pitches.

The highlight for the offense was the third inning RBI triple by Cruz. For the night Oneil Cruz went 2-for-4 with the triple. It was his third triple of the season and his 36th RBI.

Jason Delay went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk.

Blue Jays @ Pirates

Time: 12:05 PM EST

Pirates Starter: JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.39)

Blue Jays Starter: Ross Stripling (6-4, 2.94)

Brubaker Notes: In is last start that was against the Braves, JT Brubaker was torched for six earned runs in 6.2 innings. He’s pitching on extended rest as he was momentarily placed on the Paternity List for the birth of his child. He’ll look to get back on track and hopefully mimic his start against the Boston Red Sox that saw him complete seven scoreless innings and get the Pirates back in the win column.

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SBRO

Worst record in baseball since the All-Star break at 10-30.
Worst run differential in baseball at -209.
Now tied with the A’s for 28th, but the A’s have played 2 more games than the Pirates, and I really like the Bucs’ chances of losing both games in hand.
On pace for a 102-loss season.

forkball

No real motivation to win at this point. I expect that they still want to evaluate players in different scenarios to see if they can handle the pressure of the Bigs especially when they play teams in the pennant race. I’m curious too. Not quite as depressed as most of you seem to be.

jon6er

If they catch the Nats it will be the only thing BC/DS accomplished all year.

docdon385

What do you call it when you have the tying run on third with no one out in the ninth inning and three hitters (two veterans who for incomprehensible reasons are still part of this team) in succession who cannot even get the bat on the ball? Pathetic comes to mind.

1979andCounting

But didn’t you just post yesterday that “an out is an out…..why does anyone care about strikeouts”? Gotcha 😃

Anthony

I’m just surprised his comment didn’t have anything about service time manipulation in it 😂

RAS TN

No, that’s the approach that the hitting coach has bestowed on the Pirates…

TNBucs

Progress! (By Cherington’s and Shelton’s definition–we lost by 4 Friday, 3 yesterday, and only 1 today.)

Seriously, though, the way JVM, Marcano, and Newman looked, it is encouraging that Suwinski and Mitchell both got hits which hopefully builds their confidence, and supports why they need to be playing in the majors, even against the toughest pitchers.

Last edited 28 days ago by TNBucs
1979andCounting

I understand the defensive indifference now with Romano….lol.

jtkuch

I don’t care how good he is, that’s an absolutely pathetic string of ABs. You’ve gotta put a ball in play at least.

joebaseball

Do you think the Pirates are trying to put together the first line-up where every batter is hitting below the Mendoza line?

chappy

Who is the #10 playing for us this year? He has lost the ability to hit.

TNBucs

The biggest mystery of the season. Just lots of inconsistency, and since he reached his season high of an .828 OPS after his 2 HR game against the Red Sox following the “hodgepodge of nothingness” comment, he has a .456 OPS and has struck out 30% of the time.

chappy

He could have been the difference in a number of 1 run games and he has been atrocious. He is my favorite player but it has been so hard to watch him this year. I look forward to someone really breaking down this season. I am just rehashing things I wrote a week or 10 days ago, but he has become one of the biggest mysteries on the team. The FO needs to figure out if he can rebound from this back to 6 or even 5 WAR guy. If he cannot then it makes no sense to keep him and I hate to write that because I was hoping we could build around him and keep him into his early 30’s. I just don’t know what I am watching anymore when he comes up to hit.

Last edited 28 days ago by chappy
1979andCounting

The same could be said of Hayes. Not in regard to contract, but the mystery and disappointment with what he offers offensively. Our supposed 2 building blocks for a winning team……..? Not a good year.

TNBucs

It would be nice if we could have at least one mini-stretch with Cruz and Castro hitting like they have been and Reynolds hitting like he did last year.

docdon385

Gotta give Shelton credit for bringing back Underwood again today after he blew the game yesterday, so he can do it again apparently. Smart—-NOT, but hey it’s Shelton what can you expect?

TNBucs

After the way he clearly ran out of gas last night, he’s the last guy I would have used out of the pen today.

As Brown noted last night, only twice this season had he thrown as many as 37 pitches (and those two times were over 2 innings each, so less strain on the arm because of the rest in between innings). In each case, he had at least four days rest until his next appearance; today a half day. So Shelton thought it was a good idea to try something unprecedented in a game with playoff ramifications?

This illustrates my biggest concern with Shelton–a manager’s biggest impact is putting players in situations where they have the best chance to succeed, but Shelton often does the opposite.

Wilbur Miller

The schedule is the schedule! No exceptions!!

1979andCounting

Four hits in an inning by Underwood……..that isn’t enough to make a pitching change?? Shelton is pushing me over the line.

TNBucs

Sure enough, I just read the postgame story at the PG and all Shelton had to say was that Underwood didn’t execute his pitches. That’s true, but it should have been accompanied by some acknowledgement that he was put in a tough situation after throwing his season-high in pitches in an inning the night before.

TNBucs

I’m sure we’ll hear after the game that the reason for the loss is that Underwood simply failed to execute his pitches.

1979andCounting

And then Jack has to save his a– on a rocket hit in the gap.

b mcferren

where did the Cruz home run land? they won’t even show video highlights on game day

1979andCounting

427′ into the Blue Jays bullpen. Bullpen pitchers were scrambling, no one wanted a piece of 117 EV.

Wilbur Miller

This is the dreariest baseball of my lifetime as a Pirate fan. For three years it’s the same hopeless game, day after day. And Hodge ‘n Podge think everything is just swell.

forkball

Last year was worse IMO – that was the most hopeless lineup the 61 seasons I have seen. At least this year there are always a couple at bats I wait to see no matter how ugly they can look.

b mcferren

recently De Jong, Contreras and Cruz have been fun to watch

b mcferren

meh – calvary is coming

if you’re going to lose, mine as well lose big and get the biggest draft pool as possible

jon6er

They could bring the 82nd Airborne and it wouldn’t mean a thing if the guy in the dugout is still here.

SBRO

calvary, n. an experience of usually intense mental suffering

cavalry, n. an army component assigned to combat missions that require great mobility

I think calvary is already here. Whether and when the cavalry arrives is wide open for debate.

RAS TN

I believe it’s the 7th Calvary…

b mcferren

I’m optimistic about next year

we’ve got two solid starters in Keller and Contreras and two rookies that could tear it up next year in Burrows and Priester. Plus BC has plucked a gem of a starter the past two years (Anderson and Cantina) and he might even have a little more budget this offseason to fetch even the next caliber of potential breakout starter

Starting pitching has been my biggest concern about our future and that seems to be working itself out. I just hope we don’t have to look at Bryce Wilson, Brubaker and Zach Thompson anymore

The bats are going to come up and pound. Cruz has had a try-me period at each level and sooner than later he has destroy’d the competition. Swaggerty has been getting his reps and is about ripe. St. Nick is quieting the haters once again for the second season in a row when every said he was suppossed to walk the plank. Endy and Tank and Goski will be contributing soon at DH and catcher.

Anthony

I’m optimistic about 2024 for most of the reasons you mention. It’s just going to take longer; it always does.

joebaseball

Possible. Hope you are right, it would make it a fun year to watch.

slider1971

Judging from what I’m seeing on game day every teams scouting report should say throw nothing but change ups out of the zone to the Pirates! Looks like the hitters are on the struggle bus once again

b mcferren

stupid peacock

i’m glad Brown and Walk get a much deserved day off though

TNBucs

And Brown is handling the play-by-play on the radio.

Colin

Walk is doing the game on peacock with one of the Jay’s guys

Timbertopper

I’m sure this Peacock livestream will be every bit as good  💩  as those Apple TV gigglefests from earlier in the season. Hard pass.

docdon385

It’s actually pretty good so far at least. Bob Walk is one of them but they’re actually talking about the game instead of what they plan to have for lunch like the Pirate broadcasts often do and there’s no constant Greg Brown jabbering and prolonged laughing at his own lame comments. Haven’t needed to use the mute button even once yet. Try it, you might like it.

john_fluharty

I only saw a few innings of it but it wasn’t bad on the whole. Everything they said was about baseball and none of the runaway nonsense that often takes over our own broadcasts.

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