The Pirates continued to show nary a sign of being anything other than another standard-issue, Nutting/Cherington dumpster fire, getting walloped by the Phillies, 10-4. They’re now 3-9-2 on the spring. Only Miami has fewer wins.
The bullpen had another terrible day. At least this time, half the damage came against veteran NRIs who shouldn’t be competing for anything more than a spot in AAA instead of AA. Caleb Smith and Tyler Chatwood each gave up a pair of longballs. Chase De Jong had the most trouble, getting torched for four runs after relieving J.T. Brubaker in the fourth.
Brubaker looked good through three innings. He started off following the same pattern as his other starts. He threw three sinkers to the leadoff hitter, with the last one getting lined back to the box for a single. Fortunately, the only thing it hit was Brubaker’s glove. After that, he went heavily with sliders and curves, and fanned the next three hitters. Through three, he allowed no runs and fanned six. He started the fourth, though, with a walk and a home run, which brought on De Jong.
The only pitcher not to allow a run was Daniel Zamora, who faced just one batter.
The outfield was set up for job competition, with Miguel Andujar, Travis Swaggerty and Cal Mitchell, right to left. Andujar later switched positions with Connor Joe, who started at first. Swaggerty won the day’s event, going 2-for-3 with a two-run shot, his second home run of the spring. Andujar was 1-for-3. Mitchell came in last, going 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts. Joe was 0-for-4 and you have to wonder whether the acquisition of Mark Mathias hints at Joe maybe not having a place, post-McCutchen. Ryan Vilade, who’s still on the roster, got in late and was around long enough to make an out.
The presumptive starting middle infield of Oneil Cruz and Rodolfo Castro had a good day. Cruz hit the game’s first pitch for his second spring homer, and also had a double. Castro had a single and a double. Ji-Man Choi also had a single and double.
Nick Gonzales and the relentless Drew Maggi came on late and had a single and double, respectively. Gonzales is batting .400 and Maggi .538.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.
Shelby has been disappointing so far. What is his problem? Doubt he is going to make the team.
3-9-2, 16 games left in ST, and we are still fielding what I would term “scrimmage lineups” – lineups with 3 or 4 projected starters and the others are guys trying to make the active roster. BC pretty much dictated the position players on the 26 by adding players over the off-season – 13 position players
C/IF Starters – Hedges, Hayes, Cruz, Castro, Choi/Santana
C/IF reserves – Heineman, Bae
OF Starters – Reynolds, Suwinski, Cutch, Joe, Swagg’s
Congrats to Bae and Swagg’s. Now, let’s start working together as a team.
I think I’d prefer your roster but I really think plawecki over Heineman and Mathias over bae. I’d prefer the opposite but I think that’s where they will go.
anybody want to sign Endy long term?
I’d be floored if it happened before next year.
If it gets him to Pittsburgh for opening day yes. Just kidding, I don’t want to miss a career .189 hitter on opening day.
that would be cool to see Endy, Swaggerty, Nick and Mlod make the opening day roster instead of Heineman, Mathis and Owings
Don’t get your hopes up.
Unless swaggerty falls off I don’t see why he wouldn’t make the opening day roster. Mitchell, CSN, Villade, and Andujar have not been impressive. His defense is way better than these guys and I’m not too sure his offense isn’t better too.
He just has to be semi-even with them offensively to easily deserve the job. He’s close to a plus-plus defender and they’re all minus or worse.
I think Brubaker and Keller deserve Swaggerty in center after the past 3 years.
Like Hayes, Swaggerty wii accumulate WAR playing defense.
Let’s hope Nick tears up AAA pitching this spring.
Love me some Vilade updates! Keep them coming!!
Free Nick the Stick!
I’m happy he’s hitting again.
I long for the day that I can call him that and not Nicky the K.
I liked that one up the middle
De Jong got hit plenty hard.
Guys like DeJong and Underwood live on the fine line between effective middle reliever and waiver chum.
DeJong in particular feeling pretty chummy these days.
Everytime I see DeJong’s name I’m baffled he is still around. Feels like it’s been going on since I was baffled Josh Fogg could get people out.
He was awfully lucky last year, he’s a journeyman nothing more. Crowe should be bundle in that group as well.
Guys like that can often be useful for a season or so, but the Pirates see them as core players.
I tuned in late 5th inning not knowing Caleb Smith had a rough inning. But he looked sharp the two innings I saw.
Swaggerty looked good.
Cruz looks significantly bigger than I remember him last year. But I can’t tell if it’s a stronger physique or bloated? I suppose it doesn’t matter either way, he could use some weight on him. I saw it in his face moreso than his body.
He looks a little bigger to me, but pretty much about like you’d expect from a guy his age who was on the lean side to start with. He walked by me several times at Pirate City and didn’t seem all that different.
Jesus wept, let’s hope it’s not steroid use!
Gotta wonder if Chatwood ain’t gone before Monday.
Go T Swag!!
I think Chatwood might stick around a couple months to see if he can work through stuff in AAA, but he sure looks cooked.