The big news for the Pirates today is that they’ve extended their manager, Derek Shelton. You can read more about the move here.
I’ll have some thoughts on this in an upcoming column. My quick thought is that I like the move. As someone who only does this for a job, and really doesn’t care about the game of baseball anymore, I wasn’t impacted by the losing in 2020-2022. I would have run this team the same way, and I wouldn’t have cared at all how the fans felt about the necessary rebuild. I’ve explained that necessary rebuild a bit, and I’ll explain it more in the upcoming column.
Essentially, the last three seasons have been treated like extended Spring Training at the MLB level. I wrote before the season that Shelton had been playing a strategy game without necessary pieces. So far, with a better team, the Pirates are off to a great result. The moves made by Shelton during this winning have been solid — not all perfect, but you can see that this season is being treated with more urgency to win.
The biggest thing is the atmosphere in the clubhouse. Even with the losing the last few years, Shelton never really lost the clubhouse. That hasn’t been the case in the past during rebuilds. Now, the clubhouse is clicking. That has to do with the veteran additions, but I imagine those veterans are working for Shelton.
This is the first season I’ve cared about what happens on the field in Pittsburgh with Shelton as the manager, because this is the first year the Pirates have cared to put a real team on the field. Thus far, Shelton got them through the rebuild while maintaining the clubhouse atmosphere. As they exit the rebuild, they instantly have the look and feel of surprise contenders.
That’s deserving of an extension.
We’ll see if the Pirates can extend their winning streak to six in a row.
PIRATES VS REDS
Game Time: 6:35 PM EST
Pirates Starter: Rich Hill (1-2, 5.57)
Reds Starter: Luis Cessa (1-2, 13.50)
Rich is on the hill.
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— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 22, 2023
Game three of four in Pittsburgh.
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— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 22, 2023
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
BRey to bereavement list. Maggi (???) up.
would be cool to see us trade for a lefty reliever and call up andujar for canaan before the dodgers series
nice to see Underwood stepping up
I feel kinda bad for bad mouthing him the past few days but maybe that motivated him to improve. Was cool to see him join the post win baklava dance
that being said, I hope de jong does not return before the dodgers nor rays series. Maybe he is better than Moreta right now but probably not
Ho hum, wasn’t even a challenge. Pirates are just better, built different, etc. etc.
Key made a lot of really good plays at third tonight and the whole series actually. Connor Joe also made some nice scoops at first on throws from all the infielders.
Live from the Burgh it’s Saturday Night!
4th best record in baseball
Did we find gold with Yohan Ramirez? Geez did he look good.
I liked him a lot last year but he was so bad in ST that I couldn’t disagree with sending him down. If he can pitch like tonight and last year for us, that would be huge—I’ve felt like we were a reliever or two short and maybe Ramirez reduces that by one.
I was on the same boat, big fan, fully on his corner, every roster prediction I made sure that his name was on it, but after spring training I completely left that fight. But this is who he is, nasty, nasty stuff, I mean how do you hit that sinker when he is on, but that’s the problem, not on very often…..yet!
He’s always been hard to hit, but walks and dingerz have gotten him. Right now, I’d much rather give him a look than trudge along with Crowe and De Jong.
Holding a 2-1 lead for four innings without Bednar, Holderman and Stephenson, even against a crap team like the Reds, is a big thing.
And the best goes on, the best goes on….
I know it’s the Reds but when your pen covers 4 scoreless innings without your closer or setup man available it’s pretty damn impressive.
Getting 2013 vibes from this bullpen. About 2.39 WPA from the pen so far this year after tonight.
For me this is the most unbelievable win during this streak.
I’m stunned they won tonight. I said to my wife numerous times there’s no way they’re winning 2-1, but I’ll be damned. I’m slightly concerned with the offense right now. Castro is coming back to earth, Bae has definitely came back to earth and Reynolds is in the middle of a patented 20 fake funk (though this isn’t the worst for funks…he’s had some solidly struck balls and had gotten some RBI). I’d like to see them put up 5 tomorrow against Greene
Before this home series they were swinging at any pitch even near the strike zone with great results and then they come to PNC and it seems like they are only interested ‘being patience’. I really liked their aggressiveness at the plate on the road.
This pitching staff — wow.
Especially the bullpen, I was certain that they were gonna stink this year, I’m still not fully on board, but I’m slowly believing.
Bullpens are fickle and highly volatile. This core of Bednar, Holderman, Moreta and Stephenson could have. 1.89 ERA this year and lead the team to the playoffs. Next year at this time that same core could have a 5.89 ERA and be responsible for a 9-12 record despite having a better team.
Success at this level is part physical and part mental, and I think that’s especially true when you are talking bullpens. We seem to have a really good clubhouse this year, which may help these guys achieve their best game.
If they start using Crowe and DeJong more often you might get your stinky bullpen, lol.
No Crowe today was a positive step.
Duane Underwood, my main man, What up?
When they went with Stephenson last night, I wondered if they were saving DUJ to close tonight’s game if needed. Kudos to Shelton if that was how he planned it. Underwood has shown he can handle the role, so maybe they’ll avoid ever having Bednar and DUJ unavailable on the same day.
Never doubted you Underwood!
ok, maybe a little…..maybe a lot….
Well done Underwood!!
The umps been consistent the whole game, consistently bad but consistent, lol.
This strike zone is doing a number on our hitters.
Seems like Moreta isn’t close to the circle of trust , I guess 9 bbs in 8 ip will do that.
I had Mexican for dinner tonight. It was really good.
Wonder if they give DUJ the 9th as well. Monday is their first day off in forever, so not having him available Sunday is ok.
If Shelton brings in Crowe . . . .
Lets see what they do when DeJong comes off the il.
Well, Yohan just made that one harder.
No objection to having Suwinsky and Bae bat against lefties in April, but I think we might need a Right handed batter in the CSN fourth OF spot for late inning pinch hitting. Andujar, Chavez young, even vilade is hitting AAA.
CSN is a wasted roster spot right now.
They bothered to bring in a reliever to face Hedges with two outs??
Bae looks lost.
Over exposed, he’s a bench guy, lucky for him and especially CSN, there’s no one knocking the door down in AAA.
Nice work Ramirez!!
Damn good timing for him to have a nice outing. But the spectre of Crowe still lingers like a dark cloud on the horizon . . . .
Time to replace Crowe with Bolton or Stratton.
Especially after he got screwed!
Can we please score some runs on this damn bullpen? We’re making it look like the ‘15 Royals
Hedges should never, ever swing away with a runner on first.
So they have him bunt with a runner on 2b, and not whit a runner on 1b, you know when he could prevent the DP.
That’s our newly extended manager.
I would like to see Delay playing a little more often.
Bucs should retain Chris Stewart to teach Hedges about “smart hitting”.
The only smart hitting for Hedges is to keep the bat on his shoulder and hope for a walk. Or bunt.
Hedges hit that in pretty much the only place a DP could be turned.
Is Hedges walkup tune really “Fat Bottomed Girls”?
Maybe a play on the advice in Bull Durham on how to break a slump? If so, that’s pretty funny.
Gameday has that as an earned run. Shouldn’t be.
yeah . . . I don’t get that either.
Pretty dang good start by Mr. Hill.
Another example of Bae over rushing things….too frenetic.
cruz gets that ball
Tim, your Asperger’s grade honesty is sometimes hilarious but always refreshing. I agree that Shelton managed the hardest part of any organizational evolution. That said I would like to see how he manages a talented team for a couple months.
Hill probably only has one more inning in him. Good thing Crowe, Ramirez, and Moreta are well rested.
Even with the improvements this year, every pitcher the Reds throw out there dominates the Pirates.
Come on Reynolds, get back on track!
Both he and Hayes caught looking on close pitches…..frustrating!!!!
I would love to know if the bunts are done on their own by the player or are called by the manager.
It would be cool if they translated the signs for us on the screen (e.g. “shelton calling for a bunt here”) but I’m sure that would get back to the other team somehow and screw us over.
I don’t know how I feel about bunting someone who has speed like Marcano.
Hedges is such a bad hitter you have to approach it like the pitcher is up.
Same old Kevin Newman. Takes 2 pitches that he should have but both get called strikes. Proceeds to beat one into the ground for out #3 ……..
Marcano seems to be making better contact, hope he keeps that up.
Agree, another young player that I love. Brings a lot of energy.
Hill throwing too many pitches.
He would throw fewer if he could find the plate.
It is amazing how often Castro is 0 – 2.
I see the Reds have a Kroger patch. Here in VA, the seafood salad at Kroger is a solid addition to your party hors d’oeuvre tray.
So the CF who missed the diving catch and let Hayes get a triple is the same guy whose error at SS let the go ahead run score last night.
The Reds sure are bad but the Pirates must remain pitiless.
Many current Pirates have seen the game from the current Reds point of view. Very fresh in their minds. They know they can’t take their foot off the gas. Nobody did for them.
Yup. The reason the Pirates have beaten the Reds in the first two games: they’re playing better baseball.
And MLB.com finally noticed that the Pirates have won some games.
Nice to see Bob Walk back.
Rich Hill just struck out the side. I’m heading to the bunker to prepare for Armageddon.
Hope you can watch the game in the bunker!
HELLO! Hello! hello…..
ECHO! Echo! echo….
Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny MOTA! Mota! mota…….
Hello! How are you?
Doing well! Just watching the Pirates with my imaginary friend, Jasper.
Is Casper and his a ghost!