Pirates Morning Report, Two Is The Magic Number

Final Score: Pirates 2 Phillies 4, in 10 innings

Why The Pirates Lost: This was the 45th time this season that the Pirates scored 2 runs or less. This is almost half. You are not going to win many games with that little of an offensive punch. Quintana pitched well enough to keep teams interested in him. When he left the game the score was 1-0. He got 2 outs in the 6th but then fell apart by giving up a walk, a single, and another walk. Then Shelton made the move to the bullpen and De Los Santos got out of the inning.

Key Moment of The Game: Of course, Shelton could not leave well enough alone. He decided to play musical chairs with the bullpen in the top of the 7th and it failed miserably. Why take De Los Santos out in the first place only The Shadow knows. The strategy allowed the Phillies to get the 2 runs to tie the game. Then DUJ gave up the big blast in the top of the 10th and the Pirates strolled to another defeat.

Next Game: Tonight, Phillies in Pittsburgh. The bats continue to slumber, proving Thursday’s night rally was nothing more than a fluke. Whew! It makes you wonder if they don’t have defective I-Pads. The Phillies getting a sweep is looking more and more likely,but we will see what tonight brings. Swing for the fences Tsutsugo.

Pirate Morning Report, You Knew They Weren’t Going To Do It

Final Score: Pirates 7 Phillies 8

Why The Pirates Lost: Poor pitching was the culprit last night. Zach Thompson just had a bad start. He seemed to have righted the ship after giving up 3 runs in the 1st and then 1 in the 2nd. He got through the next 3 innings unscathed, dodging a lead off double in the 5th. Then we came to the key moment of the game. More on that later. Of course the Pirates did rally from the 8-0 deficit. Cal Mitchel hit a 2 run homer in the bottom the 7th, to cut it to 8-2. Then came the ninth inning rally. The Phillies big mistake was leaving Familia in the game after he gave up the hit to Greg Allen. If that guy gets a hit off you, you know your stuff is just not on tonight. They still left him in when he walked Van Meter, another cardinal sin, for a pitcher to make. In the end the rally fell short, and the Pirates lost a’gain.

The Key Moment of The Game: Thompson got those first two outs in the top of the 6th and it looked like this was going to come under the heading of a gritty outing, if not all that great of one. Then in a heartbeat there was a single, a single and then Kyle Schwarber hit the 3 run blast that seemed to put the game away, giving the Phillies a 7-0 lead.

Next Game: Tonight, Phillies in Pittsburgh. Even though the rally fell short the Pirates did score 7 runs. They did strike out 10 times again but maybe the bats are about to wake up. Cal Mitchel had one of his better games going 3 for 4 along with home run.

Pirate Morning Report, It’s The Same Old Song.

Final Score: Pirates 2 Cubs 4

Why The Pirates Lost: Can the Four Tops please take the stage. The slumber company is firing on all 9 cylinders. This time they were able to score 2 runs on 4 hits,0 walks, and struck out 10 times. Five of the nine batters failed to get a hit. Greg Allen has been worth the wait hitting .083. Bryce Wilson, I have to give him credit, after the shaky first inning he gave up only 2 hits and walked one. He only threw 80 pitches in the 6 innings, but again, the Pirates would not let him come out for the 7th inning. He has thrown over 90 pitches 3 times this year. Another example of overuse of the bullpen by The Shadow. The Pirates just do not know how to play baseball. Outstanding job, coaching staff, the team looks lost. Oneil Cruz hit a 2 run homer in the 7th for the Pirates only runs. All that development in AAA has paid off for Cruz. Too bad the Pirate brass don’t think enough of Castillo to help him develop in AAA. Maybe he could have learned to hit right hand pitching. Diego, I think it’s time for you to start looking at the Indeed website.

The Key Moment of The Game: The 3- run 1st inning by the Cubs told you that the game was over. The Pirates have not scored more than 2 runs in 6 of their last 8 games. They get a day off today, their 4th in a row.

Next Game: Thursday, Phillies in Pittsburgh. The last time the Pirates faced a good pitching staff, the Brewers, they surprisingly lit them up. The Phillies staff is 7th in all of baseball in ERA+ and Fielding Independent Pitching. Could it happen again. We can only wait and hope.

Pirates Morning Report, There Are No Routine Plays For The Pirates

Final Score: Pirates 2 Cubs 3

Why The Pirates Lost: The slumber company continues to not disappoint. Last night, 2 runs, 8 hits, 5 singles, to go along with 2 walks. All of this against a starting pitcher who Greg Brown described as a journeyman pitcher, no disrespect meant scumbag. Greg Brown was full of himself last night, making other comments both positive and negative about many players. You knew he was going to say a lot of inane things, when he started the game by saying that it was likely that Van Meter would be gone by the trade deadline. His words were “It would not be a surprise to see Van Meter on the move by the trade deadline”. VAN METER FOR GOD’S SAKE. Who would want him? The idea is to pick up a player to help you make the playoffs, not one who will guarantee you won’t. Maybe it would be like money ball, and they would get a pop machine in return. The only way that Van Meter will not be on this team by the trade deadline is if he is DFA’d. The bottom line is the Pirates lost another game by playing inferior players, when there are better players either not on the team or not playing.

The Key Play of The Game: Not being able to make the routine play on a ground ball to short resulted in the Cubs scoring the go ahead run in the bottom of the 8th. They charged the error to Cruz, which could change, but the Pirates could not execute the routine play. They made some spectacular defensive plays out there, but the error on the routine play cost them the game.

Next Game: This afternoon, Cubs in Chicago. Bryce Wilson takes the mound today, which just about guarantees a Cub win. The only hope is that the slumber company wakes up, which they do every once in a while. Just hold your breath on those routine plays.

Pirate Morning Report, Brain Dead Shelton

Final Score: Pirates 5 Marlins 6

Why The Pirates Lost: This all boiled down to the bottom of the 9th inning. For the second day in a row Yoshi Tsutsugo got a big hit, which this time tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth. Tsutsugo was on second base with one out, representing the winning run. Scheduled to bat was Jason Delay, who had already had one hit, and has been on a hot streak. Then Derek (Brain Dead) Shelton, decided to pinch hit for him with Diego Castillo. Castillo against right hand pitching has a slash line of 157/208/217. Delay has a slash line at the moment of 333/385/500. Granted, it is a small sample size, but it is what he is doing right now. He is hitting better against right hand pitching than left hand pitching. We needed a hit to win the game and possibly the outcome would have been the same, but why would you send up Castillo who absolutely stinks against right hand pitching. Needless to say, he struck out, followed by a Newman strike out to send the game into extra innings, where the Pirates lost. The Pirates struck out 18 times yesterday, showing little interest in making contact with the ball. Another brain dead move was taking Keller out after 6 innings even though he had only thrown 74 pitches. The bullpen got through one inning but then imploded to lose the game. Keller may well have able to pitch all the way to the 8th. He gave up a home run and the other 2 runs scored on a hit batsman, 2 bunts and a soft line drive single to left. He was still looking strong after 6 innings. This was a good game that the Pirates should have won, plain and simple. This management team has no interest in winning or making moves that are conducive to winning for the year 2022.

Key moment of The Game: See above.

Next Game: Tonight, Cubs in Chicago. Even though the Pirates managed 5 runs yesterday they only had 6 hits, along with 4 walks. The bats are still cold, but they scored 5 runs which makes this loss tough to take. Who knows maybe Tsutsugo will get hot.

Pirates Morning Report, Quintana Buckles Down.

Final Score: Pirates 1 Marlins 0

Why The Pirates Won: Jose Quintana pitched a very strong 7 innings allowing 4 hits no walks and striking out 4. He threw 81 pitches and I felt he should have come out for the 8th, but the Shadow wanted to give the Marlins a fighting chance and brought Will Crowe in to pitch. He tried to help the Marlins out by hitting a batter and getting behind most hitters. The Marlins did get another single with 2 outs but failed to score. The Pirates gave up on trying to lose the game and sent Bednar in to pitch the 9th. The Marlins were no match for him and went quietly in the 9th, only getting a walk. It was another ho-hum win the Pirates.

Key Play of The Game: Anytime Yoshi Tsutsugo gets a 2 out single that drives in a run, it has to be the key play of the game. You just knew it was his night. He put the ball in play every at bat and even hit the ball hard once. Unfortunately, it was right at the first baseman and resulted in a double play. It was a good thing that the run Yoshi drove in held up, because the Pirates had many opportunities to score getting 9 hits and 4 walks but could only muster one run. Incompetence won out last night.

Next Game: This afternoon Marlins in Pittsburgh. The Marlins throw out their ace, Sandy Alcantara, so expect another low scoring affair. If the Pirates are going to win it will probably be 1-0 again or 2-1. The slumber company should have no problem snoozing through this game. Let’s hope the fans at least get to hear a loud foul.

Pirates Morning Report, The Turtle is Gone

Final Score: Pirates 1 Marlins 8

Why The Pirates Loss: The slumber company had one of their more outstanding games, as they made 21 straight outs after the Jason Delay home run. What was amazing, there was not one tough fielding play in any of the outs. It was about as routine as it could have been. To top it off, they struck out 11 times. I was glad the game was a blow out because the real story of the day was The Turtle being traded to the New York Mets and I, for one, will truly miss him. I will miss all his facial expressions and gyrations at the plates. I will miss the slide and roll which he has perfected. I will miss him having at bats where he never swings at a pitch. He was, by far, the most entertaining Pirate player. Hopefully, the pitcher they got in return will be a long-term asset for the Pirates. It will be interesting to see what he does for the Mets, when the games really mean something. Good luck Turtle, may you get to play in the World Series.

The Key Moment of The Game: There was not really a key moment in this game. It was more of an accumulation of bad luck for starter Zach Thompson. The Pirate booth call the first ball in play in the top of the 4th a Castillo misplay, but it was ruled a hit. Most of the other hits the Marlins got were not hit hard and just found the right holes in the defense. Even though Thompson’s line looked awful, a couple of inches here and there, and he may have only given up a couple of runs. Things always even out, but at least for this game he was snake bit.

Next Game: Tonight, Marlins in Pittsburgh. Quintana goes for the Pirates tonight, and recently he has not looked that good. At one time he looked like he might really bring something at the trade deadline. Now, I am not too sure. Despite the Marlins lighting up the Pirates for 8 runs last night, they are not the strongest hitting team, so he might have a good game tonight. He will at least get one more start before the deadline. If he makes that a good one, maybe he will attract some attention. The big question tonight will be can Yoshi put a ball in play if he is the DH or plays 1st base. Vegas has the odds at 5 to 2 he will not.

The Pirates at The All-Star Break

Since we last analyzed the Pirates, they have gone 14-17. This is their best stretch of games barely, by a half of game. When you look at this team statistically it is really hard to believe that they had this good of a stretch. Their total record at the break is 39-54, which is still a surprise considering the fact they are in in the bottom 6 of every important statistic of hitting, pitching, and fielding. The only thing that is league average is their home run total which puts them 15th in baseball. In terms of analytics the Pirates have been just plain lucky to have such an unaspiring 15 games below .500 record. As usual, let’s take a look at each aspect that determines how a team is performing.

Hitting: The Pirates did pick up in hitting the long ball. At one time, they were as high as 12th in all of baseball, but they have cooled off some to fall back to 15th. Despite all the home runs, their offense overall has been pretty pathetic. In On Base Percentage, Runs per Game, and OPS+, they rank 28th, 28th, and 27th, respectively. As I wrote in the 62 game report, thank God for the Tigers and the A’s. The Pirates strike out a lot. In a nutshell the Pirates take a lot of strikes and swing at a lot of balls. The perfect formula for being a poor hitting team. Two players, that the Pirate press box say are hitting, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Michael Chavis are really not. Both have OPS+’s of 95 or under which means they are below average major league hitters. The loss of Bryan Reynolds is will not help the offense and there is no telling how long he will be out. You hope that Oneil Cruz will start to pick up with the bat but that is not a guarantee. There is not a reason to believe that the hitting is going to improve much, and it is cause for future concern.

Pitching: Again, the stats are skewed a little bit because of some very bad games. In Runs Allowed per Game, Fielding Independent Pitching, and ERA+, they are 25th, 26th, and 26th, respectively. A little better than the offense but not much. The Pirates are still over .500 in one run games at 14-12. The bullpen has done well in these close games. The bullpen has protected leads for multiple innings. The Pirates have lost 16 games this year by 5 runs or more. They have had 3 games this month, where they have given up a total of 48 runs. There is no question, that when this staff goes bad, it really goes bad. The good news is that the rotation has at least 3 arms for the future. Mitch Keller, J. T. Brubaker, and Roansy Contreras have all established themselves as solid mid rotation starters. J. T. Brubaker to me, has been the biggest surprise. Last year this man gave up 28 home runs and had an ERA+ of 80. He has given up 9 home runs so far this year and his ERA+ is 105. Keller’s ERA+ is at 93 which is still below league average but is a lot better than last year’s 69. In the last 13 innings he has given up 1 earned run. There is no question that Contreras has a chance to be a no. 1 starter. Zack Thompson has shown some solid potential over this stretch of games. The bullpen has been holding its own with some new arms. I have been most impressed with Tyler Beede. In his last 20 innings he has given up 5 earned runs and struck out 22 batters. It will be interesting to see if this staff can really build some momentum down the stretch.

Fielding: With my favorite fielding stat, Defensive Efficiency, the Pirates are tied for last with the Colorado Rockies. This is really scary considering the Pirates have one of the best if not the best defensive 3rd basemen in the entire league. It just shows how bad the rest of the players are in the field. The Pirates have committed the most errors 66 in all of baseball. In Defensive Runs Saved they are 23rd in the league. The bottom line is the Pirates have trouble making the routine plays. They also insist on playing infielders in the outfield for no good reason. This part of their game, at least for the moment seems pretty much hopeless, with no improvement in sight.

Management: Well, management is pretty much management, still not trying to win games this year and trying not to make losing games on purpose, too obvious. I will say this, I named 8 players in my view that should have been DFA’d and felt that none of them would be. They did get rid of 4 of them, but there is still a lot of dead wood, that would not be in the Major Leagues, if it were not for the Pirates. Depending on how long Reynolds is out, I think this would be a great time to see if Travis Swaggerty is ready to play Major League baseball. Why not stick him out in centerfield for next 4 to 6 weeks and see what he can do. Jake Marisnick needs to get on a Greyhound Bus. Moves like that make all the sense in the world. I know this team no matter what is done, would not contend for a playoff spot this year. However, giving the right players the opportunity, this team could win around 75 to 80 games. Obviously, this would not help the draft in 2023. This is what the Pirates and other teams in baseball have come down to. It is really sad.

Pirates Morning Report, Slumber Company Wakes Up

Final Score: Pirates 8 Rockies 3

Why The Pirates Won: The Pirates scored 8 runs on 16 hits, 3 walks and 1 Rockies error. All 10 batters got at least 1 hit. The Pirates had 13 singles and 3doubles, no long ball yesterday. They scored 6 of the 8 runs after 2 were out. The Turtle hit the longest single in time, in the history of Major League Baseball. It was a nice way to go into the All Star Break.

Key Moment of The Game: Removing Bryce Wilson in 3rd inning and getting out of the inning with only 1 run scoring. That inning could have been a total disaster. The pitching staff gave up 9 hits and 3 walks, but the Rockies could only manage 3 runs.

Next Game: Friday, Marlins in Pittsburgh. A welcome break with the All Star Game. Will take a look at these 39-54 Pirates sometime this week.

Pirates Morning Report, Thin Bats, Not Air

Final Score: Pirates 0 Rockies 2

Why The Pirates Lost: They did not leave the hotel room with the exception of Mitch Keller. Keller pitched another nice game, giving up no earn runs, but got the loss anyway. The offense got 6 hits, with only one extra base hit. This game was just painful to watch. The All Star break can’t come soon enough.

Key Play of The Game: The rocket throw by Oneil Cruz, which led to the only run the Rockies would need. The Pirates may have tied the game in the top of the 6th, if anybody in the world would have been on 1st base but The Turtle. Yoshi Tsutsugo is 6 for 33, with 0 home runs and 0 RBI’s, since returning from the IL. He’s doing much better, now that he is completely healthy. The Shadow said for the 28th time this year that he is seeing signs that Tsutsugo is ready to break out, and start hitting home runs. As we all know, only the Shelton knows.

Next Game: Today, Rockies, in Denver. Mercifully we all get a break after this game. The Pirates took theirs, 3 days early.

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