Blue Jays Coast to Easy Win, Stretching Pirates’ Skid to Five

The Pirates are finding the juggernauts of the AL East a bit more than they can handle.  Having amassed four runs in three games against the Rays and Manny Gonzalez, they returned home to face Toronto and got shut out, 4-0.  The loss was their fifth straight.

The Pirates had only four hits and four walks, but this time they made sure they didn’t strand them all.  Having torpedoed themselves with inept defense in St. Petersburg, in PNC Park the Bucs turned to TOOTBLANery.  Ji-Hwan Bae led off the bottom of the first with a walk and stole second, but was caught stealing third.  In the second, Rodolfo Castro tried to score on a short wild pitch and was thrown out on a good play by the catcher and pitcher.  In the fourth, Carlos Santana tried to go first to third on a two-out single and got thrown out.  For the third out.  At third.  In a veteranly manner, of course.

The only other semblance of a scoring chance was a one-out double by Bryan Reynolds in the sixth.  Santana and Jack Suwinski followed that with pop ups.  For Suwinski that was progress of a sort; he struck out his other three times up.  In his last five games, he’s 0-for-16 with ten strikeouts.

Rich Hill had a Rich Hill game.  He got knocked around a good bit, allowing eight hits in five and a third innings.  Some days he strands most of those runners, some days he doesn’t.  This was the latter.  He gave up a run in the first on a double and a single, finished off by a Bondsian throw from Reynolds.  A pair of two-out doubles cost him a run in the fourth, and George Springer finished off the scoring with a two-run bomb in the fifth.

The bullpen locked the barn door nicely.  Dauri Moreta inherited two runners from Hill with one out in the sixth and they promptly pulled off a double steal.  (Toronto stole four off Austin Hedges, whose superhuman catcher abilities have allowed him to throw out two of 18 base stealers so far.)  Moreta fanned the next two hitters to strand the runners, then retired the side in order in the seventh.  Newly returned Chase De Jong walked the first two hitters in the eighth, but got out of it.  And David Bednar emerged from hibernation to strike out two in an easy ninth.

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.

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Love how Chapman blocked 3rd base on Bae. For some reason, I don’t expect Key to have the gonads to do that. Yeah, there’s danger of being spiked, but play the game hard and smart is what winners do.


second-guessing the decision to extend Shelton’s contract . . . didn’t get it the first time, either . . . weird line-up Friday night, too


With respect to catchers and caught stealing, statcast has a new statistic that takes into account the runners lead, pitch time, and the runners speed to calculate how many more or less times caught stealing we should expect from each catcher. Both Hedges and Delay are at 0. Says a lot about our pitchers. The league leader so far this year (small sample) is our old friend Elias Diaz.


Would make for a good article topic!


It’s really not a reason to panic. They’re like 0-25 with RISP this week. They’ve probably regressed to their normal .255 batting average with RISP this week alone. The hits will come. They’ve really lost a good bit of significant contributors and need to stabilize now. Get at least 1 from Toronto and 2 from Colorado and let’s see where we are in a week. I’m very curious to see if Oviedo can bounce back tonight. This is a very good hitting Toronto team and there’s now a book on him, let’s see if he can punch back. The reality is due to the amazing April this team would have to play horrendous baseball to not be in the thick of the central race all season


Reality…They still do not hit well enough or pitch well enough, probably better than the last number of years but they still have a way to go…


Who are the real Pirates? It’s unlikely that they’re as good as they were in their first 28 games but also probably unlikely they’re as bad as they have been in the last 5. Most fans would have gladly accepted a .500 team before the season started but somehow April has made that seem like a disappointing outcome.

It’s up to the management and the veterans to lift them out of this, and I hope they can and will. There’s still a lot of season ahead, and at least some of the prospects in Indy and Altoona might be in Pittsburgh before too long. I just hope they can pull themselves out of the current funk they’re in before they crash too far and play entertaining and competitive baseball the rest of the way regardless of what their final winning percentage turns out to be. It would be nice to see some more good baseball and end the season feeling optimistic.


Yeah Wilbur, Bad Jack is back. He watched strike three down the pipe at least three three times in his last three games and Rudy was hypnotized at least twice in that time. I’m sure that Haines April magic will be back soon!

Last edited 29 days ago by jon6er

I don’t think you’re seeing the real Pirates with the loss of Cruz, JT and the other injuries eroding pitching depth. We should expect to see some good, competitive baseball, but there will be more inconsistency with them on the shelf.


I have to admit that as much as I have enjoyed the snarkiness of Wilbur’s comments over the past couple years in these write-ups, I enjoyed the winning in April more. Clouds are not as fun as fun in the sun apparently.

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