Considering the complete collapse of their hitting in the first half of May, the Pirates’ last two games should have produced, maybe, negative runs? They faced two legitimate Cy Young candidates in Eduardo Rodriguez and Zac Gallen. Instead, they roughed up Rodriguez and, in the opener of their series against Arizona, they did the same to Gallen. They went on to win, 13-3.
Things got off to a decent enough start. Carlos Santana and Ke’Bryan Hayes both doubled in the second to put the Bucs on the board, a major milestone for most of May.
In the fourth, though, the Bucs broke loose for seven runs. Josh Palacios got the first runs home on a single with runners at second and third. It was his first hit as a Pirate. A couple batters later, Bryan Reynolds picked up his first RBI of May with a bases-loaded walk. Jack Suwinski drove in two more with a double and Hayes plated two with a single. That made it 8-1, all of those runs off Gallen.
It didn’t stop there. In the fifth, Reynolds put an end to another odd streak. With two on, he connected for his sixth home run and first since way, way back on April 7.
During all this, Johan Oviedo wasn’t exactly filling the strike zone, but he wasn’t giving up much, either. A home run by Geraldo Perdomo in the third tied the game for a bit, but Oviedo allowed only one other hit in his six innings. It took him 96 pitches to get that far, with only 55 strikes. Somehow, though, he walked only three and he fanned seven. This may just be who Oviedo is, which as long as it results in a quality start is fine.
Duane Underwood, Jr., followed Oviedo, but didn’t last long. He walked the first two batters he faced, then allowed a two-run double. He retired only one batter and left with a forearm strain, so an IL stint seems nearly certain. It seems to be a requirement with the Pirates that an injured reliever has to have two bad outings before he can go on the IL. (This would’ve been a great spot for Colin Selby, but he just went on the IL. Yerry De Los Santos is having a terrible season and Eli Villalobos is . . . uninteresting.)
The Pirates got those runs back anyway. In the eighth, Hayes doubled again, and Tucupita Marcano, Ji-Hwan Bae and Palacios all singled, bringing in a pair.
Yohan Ramirez got the last two outs in the seventh and three in an uneventful eighth. Colin Holderman finished it out.
The Pirates got 17 hits in all. Andrew McCutchen, Hayes, Bae and Palacios each had three. Reynolds drove in four, and Hayes and Palacios each three.
Milwaukee lost, leaving the Bucs tied for first.
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.
Why is castro not in the lineup today? I know he is far from a perfect player, but he has more talent than marcano or bae, especially with the bat. He should get at least some ABs against RHP
Very frustrating. Almost a playbook for how not to develop a young player. If this is how they plan to treat him, they should trade him for a reliever to replace Underwood.
He’s in the doghouse for a reason. Per the fielding bible, if he’s not the worst SS, he’s damn close. He can’t hit RH pitching at all. If he can’t play SS or hit 70% of the pitchers, you’re not going to get many opportunities. After a hot start, he’s been well below replacement.
Then maybe some more 2B time where i think he used to grade out around average maybe? While he hasnt shown as much lately, i dont feel like marcano or bae should keep him out of the lineup 5-6 games in a row
Pirates are in first place today: No head to head vs Mil & pirates have better NL central record which is the second tiebreaker
I’m not impressed by the brEwwws. With Woodruff out, imo the Pirates have the stronger rotation and pen. Hitting should be better, too, depending on what sort of streak the Bucs are in. Mil’s been shut out their last two, 4 runs in last 4. Weekend in St. Pete won’t help them.
Today’s matchup makes me nervous. Keller vs . . . Brandon Pfaadt? ERA 8.59. Just the sort of game that never goes the way you’d think.
Pfaadt was a big time pitching prospect coming into the season. 55FV & ranked 21st overall by fangraphs
Maybe the Pirates can send him back for more seasoning.
With Underwood injury, they could probably use a JC Flowers type that can give you 3 innings of long relief . We don’t really have that type of guy in the bullpen
I was curious to see if any of the upper-level guys that we lost in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft would be candidates*:
Jacques: Probably not, with a 4.08 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in AAA and has been much worse in May.
Gonzalez: Great K rate but poor ERA (4.61) and WHIP (1.76) in AA.
Roberts: Struggling in AA.
McGough: Still injured, hasn’t appeared this season.
Mejia: Great K rate but poor ERA (6.28) and WHIP (1.60) in AA.
Solomon: Major struggles in MLB and AAA.
All to say, the depth we lost wouldn’t be of any benefit now. As an aside, Oliva has been tearing things up lately (1.036 OPS with only 4 K’s in 38 PAs in May). Might be hard to break into the CF spot with the Angels, though.
*Unlike, say, John, I had to look these names up 🙂
I would be happy for them just to bring Bolton back up tbh
Gallen hasn’t been the same since he hit that pigeon.
It was definitely a feel-good win with the only downer being the look on Castro’s face when they showed him in the dugout in the 9th. I hate the way Shelton is handling him. I understand the need to give Bae and Marcano reps too, but to treat a 23-year-old as a one-dimensional role player borders on career-sabotage. To send him up to face a position player then not even giving him an inning in the field makes things even worse.
Shelton continues to be about himself–the most self-indulged manager I can recall the Pirates having with Tracy a close second. But then I always thought that about Maddon, Shelton’s role model, too so it’s not surprising.
I’m not a Shelton fan but wondering if you could expound on what you mean by self-indulged? Thanks.
I realize it may be unfair, but for me it goes back to his introductory press conference when it was all about what a great accomplishment it was for him to be named a manager. Then, the repeated blame for losses on “execution” rubbed me the wrong way as if he had made all of the right decisions but the players just didn’t come through. This year, note how out in front of the media he was when things were going so well in April instead of elevating players during that stretch. Specific to Castro, he seems much more interested in what Castro can do for him than what he can do for Castro, which isn’t how I want a young player handled. Also, I despised Maddon as a manager because of how he craved attention for being the “smartest guy in the room” and Shelton cites him as a role model.
Again, I was biased from the beginning so take it for what it’s worth. I’m also okay with the extension because I think players are sincere in their fondness for him and perhaps if I knew him personally, I’d feel likewise (and I also acknowledge that I like him better when I hear him talk than when I read his quotes). But lately, I’m pretty frustrated with his use of Castro, one of my favorites…
Thanks TN. Appreciate the response.
I have a similar view of Shelton. Really hope Castro experiments with only batting RH in the off-season.
Must be something going on behind the scenes.
The only positive thing I can think of is if they’re working with him on batting RH fulltime and don’t think he’s ready to try it in a game situation yet. But otherwise, I’m concerned about how some of our other young players will be handled. They did seem to be handling Cruz fine (though I hate that Shelton was using Cruz’s and Choi’s injuries as an excuse for their 1-11 stretch–just another example of not taking responsibility), but their handling of Castro just seems very short-sighted.
This is my only guess otherwise i dont understand it at all
On a positive note, the hitting looks to be back. On a worrisome note, we know what happened after the last time we faced a position player pitching. Speaking of which, MLB really needs to adopt a mercy rule. It would be the same idea as an intentional walk–why go through the charade of completing a PA/game when you know what the outcome is going to be?
The only way I would support this mercy rule is if one team reached a certain amount of runs, then the inning would immediately be over and they would call it a win for that team and then they would immediately start a new game with the pathetic team at bat. And that game would go a new nine innings (would even be ok if that new game went seven). The result would add an additional game in the standings for each of the two teams involved that day
My idea for a mercy rule would be one that relied on the trailing team to call the game. I.e., no position players are allowed to pitch so you either concede the game or you continue to use guys out of your pen. Since managers probably hate the idea of conceding, it would result in using relievers instead of position players.
we are off to the moon when Oviedo and Contreras learn to know what to do on nights when their yak isnt working
Arizona came in as a top ten defensive team in the league so they had an off night. Good teams take advantage of you that.
It was a surprising win against one of the leagues better pitchers which the Bucs actually do a lot.
Actually nice to see Palacios have a good game.
Well, he saw what happens when you go 1-for-26.