Final Score: Pirates 2 Rockies 13
Why The Pirates Lost: The pitching got rocked. The Rockies got 9 singles, 4 doubles and 4 home runs. Ten players made plate appearances and 9 of them got at least 1 hit. Quintana, whose value is dropping faster than the Stock Market, threw 103 pitches in 5 innings, and only 63 were strikes. The Pirates threw 173 pitches for 8 innings. The Rockies had 116 pitches for 9 innings. The offense wasn’t much better, getting 2 runs on 6 hits, and looking disinterested most of time. Ben Gamel struck 3 times in a row and hardly swung at any pitches. Maybe the Pirates think the All Star break has already started and these games don’t count.
Key Moment of The Game: Brendan Rodgers’s 2 out double, on a pitch out of the strike zone, that cleared the bases and gave the Rockies a 4-1 lead, in the bottom of the 3rd. The rout was on.
Next Game: This afternoon, Rockies in Denver. Let’s hope the Pirates show up today, but even if they do, the Rockies are hot and this could get real ugly. I am sure Yu Van Meter will be playing and leading off. He’s done a great job so far.
Final Score: Pirates 2 Brewers 3, in 11 innings
Why The Pirates Lost: This was a complete offensive debacle. In 11 innings the Pirates scored 2 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks, striking out 16 times. Then there was the base running that just made you shake your head. Cruz caught stealing twice and of course the Jake Marisnick, I think I’ll just try to sneak home from 3rd base. You have heard of the hidden ball trick. Marisnick thought he would try the invisible runner trick. A great move by one of our accomplished Major League players recently brought up. He was just trying to make up for those 2 home runs he hit and felt he had to give one back. Another good start, this time by Zach Thompson, was wasted. Will Crowe may have set some kind of recored. Threw 5 pitches and gave up 2 hits and loss, no outs. The Pirates did not wait to get to high altitude to become light headed and dizzy.
Key Moment of The Game: Allowing Billy Hamilton to get a hit. It resulted in the run that kept the Pirates from winning 1-0. This guy is one of the worst hitters in baseball. It’s a wonder he is not on the Pirates.
Next Game: Tonight, the Rockies in Colorado. No matter who starts tonight we will see if anybody knows how to play this game. Everyone seemed out to lunch yesterday.
Final Score: Pirates 4 Marlins 5 in 10 innings
Why The Pirates Lost: I could not believe that they could have started a worst lineup than the one they did the other night, but they managed it. I wonder how many teams this time of the year lead off the game with a batter not hitting .200. I thought the headline might read one hit, one run, and one win, with Brubaker pitching a great 7 innings, allowing 0 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks and striking out 9. That’s what I thought it would be, until DUJ came into the game in the bottom of the 8th. He had been doing a pretty good job lately and got the first 2 outs. Then he imploded by hitting a batter, walking a batter and hitting another batter. He did help speed up the game. A single then drove across the 2 gift wrapped runs. The Pirate staff walked 4 and hit 3 after giving up no walks in the first 2 games of the series. The Pirates battled back with 1 in the 9th and 2 in the top of the tenth to take a 4-2 lead. But they blew the lead in the bottom of the 10th when an obviously tired David Bednar gave up 3 runs on multiple rocket shots and ended this debacle by wild pitching the winning run home. Management was all smiles tonight.
The Key Moment of The Game: Bringing Bednar in for the bottom of the 10th and having no one ready when it was obvious, he did not have it last night. Bednar threw 12 strikes, and they all were either fouled off or rocketed in play, a bunt being the exception, with 2 of them nearly taking his head off. The game would have been over sooner if it were not for a baserunning gaffe by the Marlins that got the 1st out. This game went past Shelton’s bedtime.
Next Game: This Afternoon, Marlins in Miami. I cannot imagine who they might play today or won’t play. It is a shame, because if they played the best players, brought up some better players and cut the dead wood, this team would be so much better.
Final Score: Pirates 3 Marlins 2
Why The Pirates Won: For the second game in a row, it was the bottom third of the order that carried the load. Jake, yes, I know his name is Jake, Marisnick, Oneil Cruz, and Jason Delay, each drove in a run, and went 3 for 9 for the game. The bullpen continued their resurgence by having a great bullpen game, only allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and again no walks. No free passes for the Marlins for the second straight game. There is no question the most improved Pirate pitcher is Tyler Beede. Last night he was brilliant with 6 up and 6 down, with a little luck at’em ball for the 6th out. It’s hard to believe that we are seeing a player improve once he gets on the Pirates. Whatever Beede has found let’s hope he keeps it. Last night he was throwing 97 MPH with some great movement.
Key Moment of The Game: In the top of the fifth the Pirates had a runner on first with 2 out when Cruz and Delay decided to do some 2 out lightening, bang, bang. Cruz lined a triple to the right field corner and on the next pitch Delay singled in Cruz to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead. The Marlins got a run in the bottom of the 5th to make it 3-2. From that point on, the bullpen went into shut down mode, and the Marlins could only get a check swing single in the top of the ninth, for their only hit in the last 4 innings. THE BULLPEN IS BACK BABY.
Next Game: Tonight, Marlins in Maimi. Will the bottom of the lineup continue to shine? Will Jake Suwinski get a hit before the All-Star break? These are the questions on Pirate fan’s minds right now. Like we always say, who knows, only the Shadow knows.
Final Score: Pirates 5 Marlins 1
Why The Pirates Won: God only knows. With a lineup featuring at least 4 players who probably won’t be on the team next year, the Pirates cruised to victory. The big surprise of the game was the play of Yu Marisnick. No relation to Yu Chang, but similar baseball skills. Only hitting .168 coming into the game, he raised his average almost 30 points, with a double and a 2-run home run, in his first game back from the injured list. The bottom third of the order had 5 hits, drove in 2 runs, and scored 3. It was quite a day for the bums. It didn’t hurt that Mitch Keller pitched his best game of the year, going 7 innings giving up 1 run on 5 hits and ZERO walks. Way to go Mitch. Many of the Marlin players are on suicide watch, losing to the team that the Pirates put on the field. There is also the rumor that 11 of the Marlins players are going to be DFA’d today because of the loss.
Key Moment of The Game: It was early in this game. The top of the first the Pirates got the first two men on base, but then Chavis and the Turtle struck out. Diego Castillo saved the day by getting a soft liner to drop in centerfield, to score both runs to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Kevin Newman got a big 2 out hit in the 2nd inning to drive in the 3rd Pirate run and Keller protected it well going the strong 7 innings.
Next Game: Tonight, Marlins in Miami. Even though there is a lefty going again for the Marlins, Marisnick probably did himself in by having a big game, so he probably won’t start. Management is pulling out all stops to end the 3-game road winning streak. They have not announced the pitcher yet. Right now, they are leaning toward Van Meter. Michael Perez is rumored to be playing right field. This is getting serious.
Final Score: Pirates 8 Brewers 6
Why The Pirates Won: They brought out the long ball with 4 home runs that accounted for 6 of the 8 runs. The bullpen has had a revival, as they protected the 1 run lead for 3 innings. I have been ripping the left-handed relievers for some very poor performances, but Manny Banuelos did the job yesterday. He came in with a runner on 2nd and nobody out and went strike out, harmless fly ball to left, and strike out to end the bottom of the 6th. This was in a part of the game that the Brewers were breaking back every time the Pirates had a taken a lead. This time they did not.
Key Moment of The Game: Craig Counsell brought in a right hander to face Ke’Bryan Hayes in the top of the 9th. He promptly walked Hayes to put runners on 1st and 3rd with 2out. With the 3-batter rule, this allowed The Turtle to face a right-handed pitcher. Doing it the only the way The Turtle can, he took 5 straight pitches to get to a 3-2 count. He then launched the 6th pitch over the center field fence, to give the Pirates an 8-4 lead. It turned out, they needed those 3 runs, as the Brewers scored 2 runs on a McCutchen home run, in the bottom of the inning to make the final 8-6 Bucco’s.
Next Game: Tonight, Marlins in Miami. A surprising series win in Milwaukee, especially with the number of runs the Pirates scored, against one of the better pitching staffs in the National League. The lineup was pretty good yesterday, so maybe management is giving up on the high draft pick for next year. The bullpen has come alive again and was a big reason the Pirates took the last two games of the series. Can we fry some fish next?
Final Score: Pirates 4 Brewers 3
Why The Pirates Won: For 8 of the 9 innings, the Pirates got 1 hit, walked 4 times, struck out 14 times and scored 0 runs. However, for one inning, the top of the 7th, the Pirates got 4 hits, scored 4 runs and struck out once. It was good enough to get a win. Ben Gamel’s home run was the big blow to give the Pirates a lead 4-3, they never relinquished. What was interesting about the 15 Pirate strikeouts was that a lot of them were called strike 3’s, or they swung at a ball way out of the strike zone. There were only a couple of strikeouts where the batter swung at a strike and missed. The bullpen protected the lead like they did in the early part of the season and the Pirates came away with an amazing win.
The Key Moment of The Game: The Pirates took the lead in the top of the 7th and Dwayne Underwood Junior, who from now on will be referred to as DUJ, because I am not typing that name anymore, came into pitch the bottom of the inning. Right away, the Brewers got two fluky hits to put runners on the corners with no one out. DUJ then bore down and struck out Andrew McCutchen. Kolten Wong grounded to Tsutsugo, who threw a strike to home plate to nail the runner trying score. DUJ struck out the next batter and the inning was over. From that point on, the Brewers went 6 up and 6 down to finish the game.
Next game: This afternoon, Brewers in Milwaukee. I was right about Reynolds not starting last night and Gamel starting, but his new best friend Van Meter did not. I can’t wait to see the Sunday lineup. This is more exciting than when you use to wait for Casey Kasem to reveal the no.1 song of the week on Sunday morning.
Final Score: Pirates 3 Brewers 4
Why The Pirates Lost: J. T. Brubaker struggled through 5 innings giving up 5 hits and walking 5. He was lucky the Brewers could only produce 3 runs from such generosity. The Pirates could only muster 6 hits and 2 of those were in the ill-fated top of the 9th. Another strange starting lineup, by not letting your hottest hitter, the Turtle DH. You replace him with someone batting .180. You might as well let a pitcher hit. The home run by Willie Adames proved to be the deciding factor. Gamel and Van Meter did not start because they were told to do nothing but talk to each other for 2 hours straight.
Key Moment of The Game: Sending Kevin Newman home in the bottom of the 9th when he had 0% chance of scoring. You have to give Willie Adames credit, because he saw what was going on, and even though he must have been in a state of shock, threw a perfect strike to home plate. Another new way to play baseball. Just keep running until you are thrown out or score. Apparently, the Pirates are going to adopt this philosophy for the entire game from now on. When will Pittsburgh ever get a Major League baseball team, only The Shadow knows.
Nest Game: This afternoon, Brewers in Milwaukee. Since Castillo hit a home run and Reynolds went 3 for 4 do not look for them to start today. The Turtle is still a flip of the coin. Now that Tsutsugo is completely healthy, he will be in the lineup. Expect Van Meter and Gamel to be back out there also, now that they know each other. Pirate management now thinks that 110 losses are back in play, since they discovered this new way to lose games. Just keep running until you are out.
Final Scores: Game 1 Pirates 4 Reds 2 Game 2 Pirates 1 Reds 5
Why The Pirates Split: The Pirates got great starting pitching in both games. The great pitching could not overcome the silent bats and shoddy defense in game 2. The Pirate bats have been asleep for the last 3 games. They have produced 5 runs on 16 hits and 6 walks. Some teams do that in one game. They struck out 30 times. Even the Dodger pitching staff would probably be 1-2. It was nice to see Roansy Contreras get back on track with a very nice 90 pitch 6 inning outing. He gave up 1 run on 4 hits, only walked 1 while striking out 7. In game 2 our recently brought up “accomplished” major leaguers gave the Reds 5 outs in the bottom of the 7th which open the floodgates for a 4-run inning. The always unreliable Chris Stratton also contributed to the Reds win. The other rare occurrence happened in the bottom of the 8th. The Pirates brought in a left-handed reliever, and he pitched an entire inning without giving up a run.
Key Moments of The Games: In game 1, the Michael Chavis one out double in the top of the 7th to drive in 2 runs that gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead. In game 2, the Josh and Ben comedy act, which allowed the Reds to extend the inning and score 4 runs to secure the win.
Next Game: Tonight, Brewers in Milwaukee. The pitching is only going to get tougher for those Swiss cheese bats. The Brewers staff is 6th in baseball in ERA+. We can only hope that the accomplished major league players that have recently joined the team, understand that the purpose of batting is to make contact with the ball and in order to do that, you have to swing at strikes. It does seem simple enough doesn’t it.
Final Score: Pirates 0 Yankees 16
Why The Pirates Lost: Another blowout loss for the Pirates as they could not hit or pitch last night. If the Pirates had swept the Yankees, there probably would have been world economic collapse. The Pirates can add this 16-run performance to the 21, 19, and 18 runs they have given up in previous games. We are only at the halfway point of the season. Can they do 20 and 17 to complete the parlay. Call Vegas they are taking the bets now.
Key Moment of The Game: When it stopped raining. Another key moment was when The Shadow Shelton removed Manny Banuelos from the game in the top of the 8th, after he gave up 5 runs, 3 hits and 2 walks in an economical 19 pitch, 1/3 of an inning. He did not allow Banuelos to take the beating that that Cam Vieaux did against the Brewers, where he threw 48 pitches before he recorded an out. So, we know that Shelton got a good night’s sleep. I feel better already myself.
Next Game: Today and Tonight, the Reds in Cincinnati. The Pirates have reached the halfway point and stand at 33-48. If they can repeat that performance, they will win 66 games and lose 96. It will be tough, with management trying to lose games, but we will see what happens. Remember, only The Shadow knows.