Final Score: Pirates 8 Nationals 7
Why The Pirates Won: It took another spectacular day by a Pirate for them to get a victory. This time it was Bryan Reynolds who had the big day with 3 home runs and 6 rbi’s. It was a wild game with many base running gaffs by both teams but many more by the Nationals. The Nationals got 16 hits, along with 6 walks but could only get 7 runs. They had base runners every inning but the 9th. The bullpen held it together pretty well especially in the late innings when it mattered most. Yerry De Los Santos pitched a clean 9th inning to get his first major league save. It was a great way to break the losing streak.
Key Moment of The Game: It came in the bottom of the 6th with the Nationals leading 6-5. They had Josh Bell on 2b with one out and Nelson Cruz at the plate. He hit a rocket just to the right of the 2b bag, in which Hoy Park made a spectacular play to catch the ball and double off Josh Bell. As the pitch was being thrown, he drifted a little more to his left then had to take 2 steps back to the right and back handed the ball about one foot off the ground. The force of the ball moved him back into the outfield just a touch. Bell took off at the crack of the bat and was easily doubled off. Greg Brown called this a nice play. The other factor was the umpire was in the way and had to lean backwards from the ball. If the play is not made the score is going to 7-5 and there is no telling what would have happened next. The play may have been one of the best defensive plays of the season. Reynolds hit the 3-run homer in the next inning to propel the Pirates to victory.
Next game: Tonight, Brewers in Pittsburgh. Brubaker takes the hill tonight which should be a good pitching performance. Anyone who thought Oneil Cruz could not play shortstop has certainly been proven wrong. He looks as solid as any shortstop in the last 20 years. We will see if the Pirates are going to make any moves today. The Chang era is in jeopardy. He will be missed if it happens. However, Yu never know what the Pirates are going to do.
Final Score: Pirates 1 Nationals 3
Why the Pirates Lost: Sounds like a broken record but another silent night for the Pirate bats, getting 5 singles and a home run, plus striking out 13 times. Shelton was asleep at the wheel by not bringing in a left hander in to face Yadiel Hernandez. His spits are a little better against left handers but slugs less against them 353 to 408. He wasn’t 12 for 24 against lefties like Choi of Tampa Bay when Shelton went for the lefty in that game. For the second straight time trying to get 2 innings of relief out of Will Crow proved disastrous. Five straight losses all bullpen related. Quintana seemed to get back on track with a nice 6 innings allowing only a 1st inning run on 4 hits.
The Key Moment of The Game: The winning double by Yadiel Hernandez to take the lead 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th. The Pirates are losing the close ones now, which they did not do in the early part of the season. The bullpen, which was used so unnecessarily in the first part of the season, seems to be on the verge of collapse and we are not even in July yet. Things could get a lot worse soon. Remember the Nationals stink.
Next game: This afternoon, Nationals in D. C. Mitch Keller takes the hill and hopefully will continue to look like a major league pitcher. It is a day game, so could we see the dynamic duo of Van Meter and Chang. A guarantee for a 6th straight loss. The last 3 games the Pirates have scored 5 runs. They are not quite there yet but they are getting close to last place in some of the more important hitting stats. No kind of breakout seems to be in the near future. For the next 88 games, I hope you like low scoring.
Final Score: Pirates 2 Nationals 3
Why The Pirates Lost: For the most part the Pirates bats were quiet only getting 7 hits and the 2 runs. Miguel Yuri danced through the raindrops for 4 innings giving up 4 hits and walking 3 batters but did not allow a run and threw only 65 pitches. He did not come out for the 5th inning and once again the bullpen could not hold the lead, giving up 3 runs in 4 innings of work. Another strange move by the Shadow. Yuri benefitted from some hard hit balls being right at someone, but he still only threw 65 pitches. The way the bullpen has been performing lately, you would have thought, they would have left him keep pitching. It was not the “thought” process on the Pirate bench and their 4th close loss in a row was sealed.
Big Moment of The Game: The Maikel Franco 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th with 2 out, won the game for the Nationals. The Pirates did get a runner to 2b in the top of the 9th but could not get the hit to get him in. It was another bad day for the Pirates. They showed that they don’t do the little things to win games.
Nest Game: Tonight, the Nationals in D.C. The bullpen has failed miserably over this 4-game skid and the bats are sleep walking through games. In last night’s game, the Pirates did not strike out a ton, 7, but they seemed to take a lot of strikes. They were not aggressive at the plate at all. It’s Quintana tonight and he has not looked all that hot lately. Let’s hope he can have a good game.
Final Score: Pirates 2 Rays 4
Why the Pirates Lost: Again, Roansy Contreas was not that sharp walking 5 batters in 5 innings, including 4 in one inning to score the 1st Ray run. He also benefitted from some hard-hit balls going directly to fielders. He still only gave up the one run, so he knows how to bear down when the going gets tough. You have to like the kid. Mainly, the Pirates bats were quiet, and it was another big strike out day with 12 Pirates going down on strikes. Yu Chang played, unfortunately and did get a hit. However, he made the last out of the game in typical Pirate fashion. With 2 out, Jack Suwinski walked and up strode the worthless Chang. Oneil Cruz was on deck. The first pitch was a ball which Chang took. The next pitch was even lower, and yet he swung, even though the Pirates desperately needed another runner on base. The third pitch was another ball, which should have made the count 3-0. Of course, Chang swung and hit a routine flyball to end the game. He did not have a clue on what to do or what was needed at that moment. Chang, you da man.
Key moment of the game: The missed tag by Diego Castillo in the bottom of the 7th proved to be the Pirates undoing. I guess it is ok for Castillo to learn and develop at the big-league level, but not Cruz. Before that, the Shadow wanted to make sure that the Rays had every opportunity to win the game, by bringing a left hander in to face Ji-Man Choi. Choi this year is 12 for 24 against left-handed pitching. Now he is 13 for 25, and the Rays went ahead to stay and then added on 2 more runs. They don’t call Shelton mister analytics for nothing.
Next Game: Tonight, The Nationals in D. C. The competition drops considerably with the Nationals. Shelton will have to burn the midnight oil to try to ensure that we lose to these guys. He may have to pull out all stops, by making sure that Chang plays in all the games, and Vogelbach is in the field. They haven’t announced the starting pitcher, but there is a rumor that it might be Bob Walk.
FINAL SCORE: PIRATES 5 RAYS 6
WHY THE PIRATES LOST: ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A GOOD TEAM DOING WHAT IT NEEDED TO DO TO WIN ANDTHE PIRATES NOT. THE BULLPEN COULD NOT HOLD THE LEAD WHICH IS A BAD SIGN FOR THE FUTURE. THERE WAS SOME PRETTY GOOD CLUTCH PITCHING DURING THIS GAME AS J. T. BRUBAKER SPREAD OUT 9 HITS OVER 6 INNINGS GIVING UP ONLY 3 RUNS. THAT ALL ENDED IN THE 8TH AND 9TH. JACK SUWINSKI HIT A DEEP 3 RUN HOMER IN THE TOP OF THE 6TH TO TAKE A 5-3 LEAD AND IT LOOKED LIKE WE WERE HEADED FOR A SPLIT. IT WAS NOT TO BE AS THE BULLPEN FOLDED. DAVID BEDNAR MADE A HORRIBLE O-2 PITCH AND A LINE SINGLE BY ISAAC PAREDES WON THE GAME FOR TAMPA BAY.
KEY MOMENT OF THE GAME: AFTER 2 WERE OUT IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH BEDNAR WALKED 2 STRAIGHT BATTERS WHICH SET UP THE WHOLE WINNING INNING. EACH BATTER HAD STRUCK OUT TWICE DURING THE GAME. THERE IS NO QUESTION WALKS ARE KILLERS. I KNOW THAT A LOSS IS A LOSS, BUT I WOULD RATHER HAVE SEEN BACK-TO-BACK HOMERS OR A BLOOP AND A BLAST, THAN WHAT TRANSPIRED. LET’S HOPE THIS WAS A LESSON LEARNED. THIS LOST WAS REALLY A TOUGH ONE TO TAKE, ON A TEAM THAT IS STRUGGLING TO WIN GAMES.
NEXT GAME: THIS AFTERNOON: RAYS IN TAMPA. ROANSY CONTERAS GETS THE START TODAY AND HOPEFULLY, WILL LOOK A LITTLE SHARPER THAN HE HAS THE LAST 2 OR 3 GAMES. THE GUY STILL LOOKS LIKE THE FUTURE ACE OF THE TEAM BUT I THINK HE NEEDS TO HAVE AN IMPRESSIVE START JUST TO GET A CONFIDENCE BOOST. CASTILLO SEEMS TO HAVE GOTTEN HIS POWER STROKE BACK SO I AM WAVERING ON HIM BEING SENT DOWN. MAYBE VAN METER BETTER CHECK THE GREYHOUND SCHEDULE. PLEASE, NO YANG TOMORROW, PLEASE.
FINAL SCORE: PIRATES 3 RAYS 4 10 INNINGS
WHY THE PIRATES LOST: THEY COULD NOT HIT THE BALL. I MEAN THAT LITERALLY. THE PIRATES STRUCK OUT 17 TIMES. EVERYBODY STRUCK OUT AT LEAST ONCE, EVEN IF THEY JUST BATTED ONCE. THEY SCORED THEIR RUNS ON SOLO HOME RUNS. THE RAYS PLAYERS ONLY FIELDED 13 OUTS. THE PIRATES GOT 5 OTHER HITS PROBABLY BECAUSE THE RAYS PLAYERS NODDED OFF AT TIMES. KELLER, AGAIN HUNG IN THERE PRETTY WELL, BUT THE BALK REALLY PROVED TO BE COSTLY. IT GOES DOWN AS A TOUGH LOSS FOR THE PIRATES.
THE KEY MOMENT OF THE GAME: IT WAS JUST THE OPPOSITE OF THE GAME ON THURSDAY, AS IT WAS THE PIRATES WHO HAD 1ST AND 3RD WITH NOBODY OUT IN THE TOP OF THE 10TH WITH THE TOP OF THE ORDER COMING UP. THEY ALL THREE STRUCK OUT WITH REYNOLDS LOOKING PARTICULARLY BAD. REYNOLDS LOOKED BAD AT THE PLATE ALL NIGHT, HANGING AN 0 FOR 5 COLLAR. THE RAYS TOOK ADVANTAGE AND WON THE GAME IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 10TH.
NEXT GAME: THIS AFTERNOON, RAYS IN TAMPA BAY. J. T. BRUBAKER GOES FOR 2 WINS IN A ROW. IT SURE WOULD BE NICE TO SEE A GAME WITH NO CHANG AND NO TURTLE. THE TURTLE IN PARTICULAR HAS GONE SLOWLY (AS HE DOES EVERYTHING) DOWNHILL AT THE PLATE. HIS SLASH LINE IS DOWN TO 215/303/401. I HAVE TO SHOW THIS. CHANG’S SLASH LINE IS 125/236/208. KEEP PLAYING THIS GUY FOR SURE.
FINAL SCORE: PIRATES 8 CUBS 7 IN 10 INNINGS
WHY THE PIRATES WON: DESPITE HAVING ANOTHER BIZARRE LINE UP, CHANG BATTING IN FRONT OF CRUZ AND BATTING MADRIS 9TH, THE PIRATES OVERCAME A VERY BAD BULLPEN PERFORMANCE TO PULL OUT THE WIN. IT’S NOT OFTEN WHEN A TEAMS DH HAS A LOWER BATTING AVERAGE THAN MOST PITCHERS DID, WHEN THEY HAD TO HIT. THE SHADOW SHELTON AGAIN SAT ON HIS HANDS AND WATCH A RELIEVER STRUGGLE, KEEPING HIM IN THE GAME WAY TOO LONG. THIS ALLOWED THE CUBS TO ERASE AND OVER COME A 4 RUN DEFICIT IN THE TOP OF THE 8TH INNING TO TAKE THE LEAD 7-6. THE PIRATES BATTLED BACK TO TIE THE GAME ON A MICHAEL CHAVIS LEAD OFF HOMER IN THE BOTTOM OF THE INNING.
KEY MOMENT OF THE GAME: MICHAEL CHAVIS’S GREAT GROUND BALL PICK UP AND QUICK THROW TO THE PLATE TO NAIL THE CUB’S RUNNER IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 10TH. THIS ENABLED THE PIRATES TO KEEP THE CUBS SCORELESS IN THE 10TH INNING WITH THE RUNNER ON 2ND RULE. THIS PUT A LOT MORE PRESSURE ON THE CUBS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE INNING WHICH THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO OVERCOME. THE PIRATES WERE ABLE TO JUST SQUEEZE THAT WINNING RUN HOME ON THE CHAVIS BLOOPER.
NEXT GAME: TONIGHT, RAYS IN TAMPA BAY. NORMALLY THIS WOULD NOT BE A GOOD PLACE FOR THE PIRATES TO GO, BUT RIGHT NOW THE RAYS HAVE A LOT OF INJURIES AND WITH THE PIRATES NEW BLOOD THEY COULD DO PRETTY WELL. MITCH KELLER IS STARTING TOMORROW NIGHT AND HE IS STARTING TO LOOK LIKE A PITCHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS PIRATE CAREER. THE BIG STORY IS, THERE ARE FOUR PIRATES ON REHAB ASSIGNMENTS IN THE MINORS. BEN GAMEL WILL BE SOON, WHILE KEVIN NEWMAN, JOSH VAN METER, AND YOSHI TSUTSUGO ARE CURRENT. TUCUPITA MARCANO IS STILL ON THE COVID IL. SO, WHO STAYS AND WHO GOES OR GETS TRADED? I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE PIRATES ARE GOING TO DO AND THEY PROBABLY DON’T EITHER. HAYES MAY HAVE TO GO ON THE IL. IN MY VIEW THERE ARE FOUR PLAYERS WHO NEED TO GO DOWN, OR SIMPLY GO. DIEGO CASTILLO NEEDS MORE SEASONING AND NEEDS TO GET HIS CONFIDENCE BACK AT THE PLATE. SAME THING CAN BE SAID FOR CAL MITCHELL. TSUTSUGO AND CHANG SHOULD GET A GREYHOUND BUS SCHEDULE, BECAUSE THEY JUST NEED TO LEAVE TOWN. THAT PUTS GAMEL, NEWMAN, VAN METER AND MARCANO BACK ON THE TEAM. GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN THE WAY THE PIRATES THINK. THEY MAY EVEN SEND CRUZ BACK DOWN, NOTHING WOULD SURPRISE ME. WHO KNOWS, ONLY THE SHADOW KNOWS.
FINAL SCORE: PIRATES 5 CUBS 14
WHY THE PIRATES LOST: RECIPE FOR DEFEAT. FIRST BRING UP A BRYCE WILSON CLONE AND WATCH HIM GET RACKED FOR 10 RUNS IN 4.1 INNINGS. DON’T PLAY HAYES AND SUWINSKI. PLAY CHANG AND MITCHELL. LEAD OFF WITH CRUZ WHEN HE HAS HAD SUCH SUCCESS BATTING 6TH. MANAGEMENT WAS DETERMINED TO LOSE THIS GAME AND THEY SUCCEEDED. THIS SHOWS NO RESPECT FOR THE GAME OF BASEBALL AND THE FANS. NOTHING MORE NEEDS TO BE STATED.
KEY MOMENT OF THE GAME: WHEN DEREK SHELTON GOT OUT OF BED AND DECIDED THAT THE PIRATES WERE NOT GOING TO WIN TODAY NO MATTER WHAT.
NEXT GAME: THIS AFTERNOON, CUBS IN PITTSBURGH. LET’S HOPE THAT WHAT WE SAW BEFORE THE GAME LAST NIGHT, THE STARTING LINE UP, WILL NEVER BE SEEN AGAIN, BUT I DOUBT IT. THIS NOT TRYING TO WIN GAMES IS SO BLATANT, THAT I CAN’T BELIEVE MLB WILL NOT INVESTIGATE. THIS IS AN EMBARASSMENT TO THE GAME AND BORDERS ON GAME FIXING. YOU HAVE TO WONDER IF SOME OF THE PIRATE BRASS ARE NOT BETTING ON THE GAMES.
FINAL SCORE: PIRATES 7 CUBS 1
WHY THE PIRATES WON: WHEN MICHAEL PEREZ GETS A HIT, LET ALONE A HOME RUN, YOU KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE YOUR DAY. GREG BROWN WAS WONDERING WHY PEREZ WAS STARTING OVER HEINEMAN, SAYING THAT THE SHADOW MUST HAVE HAD A HUNCH. IT IS REAL DIFFICULT PLAYING A 111 BATTING AVERAGE OVER A 125 AVERAGE. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER WHICH CATCHER YOU PLAY, THEY BOTH STINK. ROANSY CONTRERAS WAS NOT DOMINANT BUT STILL HELD THE CUBS TO 1 RUN OVER 5 INNINGS. THE BULLPEN COASTED IN FROM THERE, PROTECTING THE 6 RUN LEAD, MAKING SURE THE CUBS DID NOT MAKE THINGS INTERESTING. ANTHONY BANDA HAD ANOTHER GOOD TWO INNING OUTING. THE DFA THAT WASN’T. WHEN THINGS ARE GOING YOUR WAY, THEY ARE GOING YOUR WAY. WITH ALL THE HYPE ABOUT ONEIL CRUZ, THE PLAY OF BLIGH MADRIS HAS GONE SOMEWHAT UNDER THE RADAR. HE HIT HIS FIRST CAREER HOME RUN AND LOOKS REAL GOOD IN THE FIELD. PEOPLE WERE SAYING THAT YOU COULD NEVER REPLACE COLE TUCKER IN RIGHT FIELD. ALL IN ALL, ANOTHER REAL SOLID WIN FOR THE PIRATES.
KEY MOMENT OF THE GAME: WITH 2 OUT IN THE BOTTOM OF THE FIFTH, ONEIL CRUZ CAME UP BIG AGAIN GETTING A BASE HIT TO DRIVE IN RUN NUMBER 4. WHEN HE TRIED TO STEAL SECOND, A BAD THROW INTO CENTER FIELD, ALLOWED DANIEL VOGELBACH TO SCORE THE 5TH RUN. SPEAKING OF THE TURTLE HE HAD A BIG GAME WITH A DOUBLE, SINGLE, TWO WALKS, DROVE IN 2 RUNS AND SCORED ANOTHER. IT WAS ANOTHER EXHAUSTING GAME FOR THE TURTLE. I THINK HE MUST BE RESTED TOMORROW OR IT COULD AFFECT HIS HEALTH.
NEXT GAME: TONIGHT, CUBS IN PITTSBURGH. I KNOW WE ARE PLAYING THE CUBS, BUT WITH THE ADDITION OF CRUZ AND MADRIS, THERE SEEMS TO BE A NEW ENERGY TO THIS TEAM. EVEN THE TURTLE SEEMS TO BE RUNNING FASTER. THERE IS A LOT OF REHAB ASSIGNMENTS GOING ON IN INDIANAPOLIS THIS WEEK. YOU HAVE TO WONDER WHAT THEY ARE REHABBING FOR. SURELY, NOT TO PLAY BASEBALL FOR THE PIRATES.
FINAL SCORE: PIRATES 12 CUBS 1
WHY THE PIRATES WON: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WELCOME TO PITTSBURGH. FOR THE FIRST TIME THE PIRATES CAME AS CLOSE AS THEY HAD COME ALL YEAR IN FIELDING A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM. THE ONLY EXCEPTION WAS CATCHER. THIS HELPED J. T. BRUBAKER GET HIS FIRST WIN OF THE YEAR. THE NEW PLAYERS PERFORMED LIKE THE MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS THEY ARE. IT WAS, BY FAR, THE BEST NIGHT OF BASEBALL THIS YEAR. HEATH HEMBREE SHOWED HE HAS NO PROBLEM PROTECTING AN 11 RUN LEAD, CONGRATS TO HEATH. THE ONLY BUMMER WAS THE REALIZATION THAT WE COULD HAVE BEEN WATCHING THIS ALL YEAR. LIKE I WROTE YESTERDAY, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.
KEY MOMENT OF THE GAME: IN THE BOTTOM OF THIRD WITH THE BASE LOADED ONEIL CRUZ RIPPED, AND I MEAN RIPPED, A LINE DRIVE, RIGHT PAST THE CENTERFIELDER TO SCORE ALL THREE RUNNERS TO PUT THE PIRATES AHEAD 7-0 AND ESSENTIALLY THE GAME WAS OVER. DANIEL (THE TURTLE) VOGELBACH WHO SCORED FROM SECOND ON THE PLAY, IMMEDIATELY HAD TO TAKE OXYGEN, AND THERE WAS SOME QUESTION HE WOULD SURVIVE. IT MAY BE TOO HOT TOMORROW FOR HIM TO PLAY. WHAT A GREAT NIGHT FOR BUCCO BASEBALL.
NEXT GAME: TONIGHT, CUBS IN PITTSBURGH. WELL, THE PIRATE MANAGEMENT TEAM DID ONE HELL OF JOB DEVELOPING ONEIL CRUZ IN THE LAST 2 MONTHS. WHAT A TRANSFORMATION, FROM BARELY A TRIPLE A PLAYER, TO AN OVERNIGHT STAR. YEAH, RIGHT. THE PIRATES WILL HAVE A LOT OF HOUSECLEANING TO DO IN THE COMING WEEKS. THE YU CHANG ERA IN PITTSBURGH IS NOT OVER AFTER ALL. I AM SO HAPPY. REALLY THOUGH, NOTHING COULD RUIN THIS NIGHT, NOT EVEN YU CHANG.