In the second of their two-game series in Detroit, the Pirates accomplished two things they hadn’t done for 15 games: they won without Mitch Keller on the mound and they scored more than four runs. Rich Hill and three relievers combined to throw a one-hitter and the Pirates won, 8-0.
The matchup didn’t bode well, as the Detroit starter, Eduardo Rodriguez, was one of the few pitchers in MLB having a better year than Keller. But, despite Derek Shelton’s best efforts, the Bucs got to him in the second. Connor Joe and Rodolfo Castro started the inning with a single and a walk. Always eager to repeat a mistake, Shelton had Ji-Hwan Bae bunt with Chris Owings and Austin Hedges due up. Bae bunted into a force at third and Owings struck out, but the Pirates finally got a break. Hedges flied deep to right-center and the Tigers’ center fielder, after taking a looping route, dropped the ball. The scorer gifted Hedges with a double and two RBIs, and the Pirates led.
Castro added another run in the fourth with his fifth home run of the year. He’s barely been seen since he hit the game-winning home run on May 8, but he finished today with two hits and a walk, two runs and two RBIs, and also a couple good defensive plays at second. The Pirates made it 4-0 the next inning when Bryan Reynolds doubled with two outs and Andrew McCutchen singled him home.
Meanwhile, Hill was pitching as well as Keller did in his last two starts. He even fanned five straight at one point, and won a “race” to first with Miguel Cabrera on a grounder in the hole on the right side. Hill went six on 84 pitches, fanning seven, allowing just one hit and walking two.
The Pirates got to do some regressing against the Tigers’ bullpen in the seventh, scoring four times to ice the game. Carlos Santana doubled in a run, and Joe, Castro and Hedges each singled one in. That gave Hedges three RBIs on the day. Reynolds had three of the Bucs’ 14 hits, and Cutch, Joe, Castro and Hedges each had two.
After the Bucs made it 8-0, Robert Stephenson, Jose Hernandez and Dauri Moreta made quick work of the last three innings. Stephenson gave up a walk and that was the only runner. He and Hernandez each fanned two, and Moreta struck out the side, throwing ten of ten pitches for strikes. Pirates’ pitchers had 14 whiffs on the day.
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.
The snide commentary around every damn decision shelton makes is real freaking old. Can you please recap without slanting it like you are fox news
… or ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or MSNBC
The Pirates pitching is the story of yesterday and the whole season. Right now the Pirates have 3 SP’s in the Top 60 using fWAR as the standard. Keller is No. 9 at 1.7 fWAR; Contreras is No. 56 at 0.5 fWAR; and Hill is No. 59 at 0.4 fWAR. VV and Oviedo do not have the number of innings to qualify, but both are less than 10 innings from qualifying and are both at 0.6 fWAR. Overall the Pirates Pitching is 7th in MLB, and the hitting is 20th.
Colin Holderman and Dauri Moreta have achieved their first year of MLB Service, and Roansy Contreras will do so in about 10 days. YDLS was only 36 days short of 172, so he should make it this year.
Very happy for Rodolfo Castro hitting well after being held out of the starting lineup for 6 games since he hit a game winning HR. He’s been a solid hitter and defender (except for SS) all year. He came into 2023 as a 2B, 3B, SS. Unfortunately, the Cruz injury landed him in his worst defensive position. Excellent defensive numbers at 2B, 3B. He, Marcano, and Bae have been solid performers for the Pirates in 2023.
What if Triolo turns out to be a better offensive player than Hayes?
At the present time, Hayes leads all MLB 3B in Defensive Runs Saved with +9 (next closest is +5), and UZR/150 at +17.2 (next closest is +11.8). Moving those numbers off of a key IF position is just not the way to build a winning ballclub.
Triolo has been recognized as the best 3B prospect by opposing managers the last 2 years in A+ and then in AA, and hit well at AA last year. Looking ahead, they played Triolo 19 games at SS, and then 7 games in the OF and I think most were in CF. Multi-talented player who probably could play an excellent 2B also, but that position is loaded already with young talent.
If nothing else, 2023 has proven to us that Oneil Cruz is a key player on both sides of the ball, but we need somebody as a possible back-up. Tuc, Castro, and Bae can all play SS once a week and probably do it well. Triolo is a strong 3B/CF and was 24 of 29 SB’s. If I were King, I would have Triolo getting a lot of reps at SS right now! Owings is not the answer.
It has been said that Hayes would likely be the best-fielding shortstop on the team. So have Hayes be the backup SS and Triolo the backup 3B – Cruz plays 6 of 7 games at SS, Hayes plays 5 of 7 at 3B and 1 of 7 at SS, and Triolo plays 2 of 7 at 3B.
But eventually the bat moves him off the position, Hayes is going to have to hit ,and by the end of the year he be at the 1500 ab’s mark an as Bob walk had said many times he is what he is at 1500 at bats. They need production from every spot in the lineup, because
the pirates cant plug in 25 million dollar players in free agency. .260 735 ops minimum is all he has to do. He around 670 ops in his career.
Baseball is a game where pitching and defense win in the long run. Maybe getting Hayes extra AB’s at the leadoff position is not very bright of our Manager.
Yeah, he’s more like a #7 at this point. He adds nothing at the top of the lineup. Might as well have Cutch there
we are about to find out
As bad as the offense has been, if Shelton didnt’ completely mismanage the bullpen on Friday night in Baltimore (leaving in Hernandez v. Rutschman, using DUJ in the 7th of a tie game instead of Stephenson, LEAVING DUJ again in the 8th to get torched!), we’d be talking about an impressive 3-2 road trip.
i think Mackey, on Zeise tonight said that Stephenson was not available and that is why Hernandez pitched.
plus there is no reason you’d NOT have Hernandez pitch against Adley. That’s in no way, mismanagement of anything
If we can tread water the next 6 weeks (win 1 of 3 on road, 2 of 3 at home), July could be one of the more exciting months in modern Pittsburgh Pirates history. Here’s why:
Dylan Crews or Paul Skenes will be draftedDavis & Endy will both be called up; Hedges tradedO. Cruz could start rehab before end of monthIf he keeps it up, Priester in rotation & Hill or VV tradedand a team that was preseason +6000 to win division & +12500 to win the NL will still be in playoff contention
Bonus: Keller as NL starting pitcher in Seattle 7/11
There’s a better chance of you seeing virgin mary in a plate of potatoes than you seeing Endy and Davis called up. Davis is not coming up this year barring a disaster.
wonder how desperate the Dodgers are for a familiar starting pitcher with May going down?
hill and vv are great and all but I want to see Ortiz and Priester start to break in
I hated the VV signing, but if he comes back pitching the way he was when he got hurt, they should try to extend him. It’s time to transition from trading anybody who plays OK to keeping the good ones.
maybe for VV but Hill is retiring at the end of the year
I am glad we won, but yeh, any MLB CFer worth his salt catches that ball. We got a few gifts along the way, but man was our pitching legit!
The Bucs have a 15 game streak where:
1) they are undefeated when they don’t give up a run and
2) are 0-12 when they do…..
No pressure on our pitchers? Smh.
I was noting that same thing, but you beat me to the joke.