Pirates Morning Report, 2023 Pirates Win Again

Final Score: Pirates 4 Brewers 2

How The 2023 Pirates Did: For the 2nd time this year, there were 9 out 10 2023 Pirates in the starting lineup. For the 2nd time they won, with the group playing an excellent game against another playoff contender. They got all the hits and drove in all the runs. Oneil Cruz went 2 for 4 with a walk, driving in 2 runs and scoring another. He drove in the big insurance run in the 9th. Michael Chavis came out of his funk with 2 hits including a home run that tied the game. Bryan Reynolds had 2 hits and Rudolfo Castro got a hit and an RBI by walking with the bases loaded. The rest of the bats unfortunately were silent. Mitch Keller had a great comeback start striking out 10 in 6 innings and hopefully his arm fatigue is fine, since the Pirates allowed him to throw 105 pitches. The left hand relievers stretched their scoreless streak to 8 innings, be still my beating heart. But the game ending scintillating double play pulled off by Castro and Cruz said it all. Not only was it a great way to end a great win, but do you think the opening day 2b-SS combo of Kevin Newman and Hoy Park would have pulled that off. Only one guess allowed. Here is my guess. NOT A CHANCE IN HELL.

Key Moment of The Game: It was the aforementioned magnificent double play. It was not a hard-hit ball, but Castro made a great throw to 2nd and Cruz’s bullet like throw to first made the play not even that close, leading to my first fist pump of 2022. Go Bucs Go!

Next Game: This afternoon, Brewers in Milwaukee. It is unlikely we will see 9 of the 2023 team this afternoon but you never know. Delay probably won’t catch being a day game after a night game. The other 29-30 year old slugs shouldn’t play but probably will. There has to be at least 7 in the starting 9 for me to consider it a 2023 game. Right now, the 2023 team is 2-0. I can hardly wait for the 3rd win opportunity.

Pirates Morning Report, As The Ball Flies

Final Score: Pirates 5 Brewers 7

How the 2023 Pirates Did: There were 7 of the 2023 Pirates in the lineup last night thanks to a late scratch, which put Jason Delay behind the plate, who drove in one of the five runs. They got 7 of the 10 hits and drove in all 5 runs. The big blow was the 3-run homer by Oneil Cruz, which gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead. In the next inning Rudolfo Castro hit a solo blast to extend the lead to 5-3. Michael Chavis had a tough night going 0 for 5 with 3 strikeouts. The left-handed relievers extended their scoreless streak to 5 and 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, the backend of the bullpen failed.

Key Moment of The Game: When Will Crowe was brought into the game. I think he has just run out of gas. He has seen a lot of high leverage situations this year and for the most part has performed well. This is his first year as a full-time reliever and I think it has taken its toll. He faced four batters, with one getting a single and two hitting home runs to win in walk off fashion 7-5. There were certainly other options out there, but The Shadow chose not to use them.

Next Game: Tonight, Brewers in Milwaukee. The 29 to 30 year old rejects were back in the lineup with the exception of Greg Allen. Tyler Heineman almost started, and I am sure we will be lucky to see 6 of the 2023 Pirates in the lineup tonight. Mitch Keller goes to tonight and I think he needs to have a good start. Even though he had a horrible looking line in his last game, he did seem to come back ok from his “arm fatigue”. Let’s hope there are good results tonight.

Pirates Morning Report, Welcome to 2023

Final Score: Pirates 5 Phillies 0

How The 2023 Pirates Did: The big news is they got to play. Nine of the 10 players that started should be on the 2023 Pirates. I consider this nothing short of a miracle. They delivered big time too. I don’t even know where to begin. First, they all got hits. Everybody got one hit with Castro getting 2. They got 4 of the 5 RBI’s. They had 3 triples. I have to give the game ball to Tucupita Marcano. He got 1 hit and drove in 1 run but it was that outstanding defense at 2b that really stood out. In the bottom of the 7th, he started the inning ending double play. Then made 3 good to spectacular plays in the bottom of the 8th getting the assist on all three outs. This allowed DUJ to have a 6 pitch 3 up 3 down inning, another miracle. Then he made another spectacular play to throw out Bryce Harper, to start the bottom of the ninth. It has been a long time, since we have seen plays like that, made at second base. Bravo! Roansy Contreras pitched a solid 5 innings striking out 7, giving up 0 runs, on 3 hits and 2 walks. It was just a grand day for the 2023 Pirates, who finally got to play as a unit. I am sure it will be a while before we see that again as the quest for the no. 2 pick will continue this week.

Key Moment of The Game: In the bottom of the 4th the Phillies got the first two men on base via 2 singles. Then Contreras struck out the next batter and got another one to hit a soft blooping liner to Oneil Cruz. However, he walked the next batter to load the bases with 2 out. On the first pitch to Edmundo Sosa, he hit a line drive, but pretty much right at Bryan Reynolds to end the inning. After that the Phillies never really threatened again, as Contreras and the bullpen only gave up 1 hit and 1 walk the rest of the way. Another lefty added two more shutout innings, which now puts the total at a season high 4 straight innings that left-handed relievers have not given up a run. What has gotten into these guys. Did they read my article? Ha!

Next Game: Tonight, Brewers, in Milwaukee. I am sure we will see the 29 to 30 year old rejects tonight, but that was some fun game yesterday. I know it was only one game, but you can’t take that pure joy away, watching those young guys play ball. We have a little more than a month to go in the season, and I hope we get to see similar lineups at least a few more times. We can only hope.

Pirates Morning Report, Full Steam Ahead For The 2nd Pick in The Draft.

Final Score: Pirates 0 Phillies 6

How The 2023 Pirates Did: They only had 5 players in the starting lineup, and no one really distinguished themselves. Reynolds and Hayes were particularly bad at the plate going 0 for 8 with 4 strike outs. Marcano, Madris, and Cruz each got a hit, but no one really hit the ball hard. Beede continued to show that he should never start a game, but I am sure he will. The only good thing was that believe it or not the left-hand relievers CAME ALIVE. They faced 6 batters and struck out 5, HOLY SWING AND A MISS. See, when your behind 6-0 it’s easy to throw that ball over the plate with some movement.

Key Moment of The Game: If the Pirates had any chance of getting back in the game it ended in the top of the 5th when they got the first two batters on base with nobody out. Tyler Heineman made an out which you would expect. Then Kevin Newman came to the plate and had the typical Pirate at bat. Took the first pitch right down the middle for a strike. I mean it split the plate right in half from top to bottom. Then he shockingly took a ball. Then he fouled off a ball that was 6 inches above the ground, where he obviously thought his knees were. Then he finished off this great at bat, by swinging at a ball that was a foot outside, for strike 3. Bryan Reynolds ended the inning, with an equally bad at bat, by striking out. Unfortunately, this did not end the game. The Pirates had to come to bat 4 more innings and looked just like fools, getting one lucky double and a walk. For the game they struck out 12 times. They made Kyle Gibson look like Bob.

Next Game: This afternoon, Phillies in Philadelphia. We at least get to see Contreras today and maybe 7 or more of the 2023 Pirates in the starting lineup. Seven straight losses, and we are now only 2 ahead of the A’s. If we fall behind them, we will get the 2nd pick in the draft next year. We are solidifying are chances by picking up another slug off waivers, to put in the bullpen. There really should be an investigation but even though it seems obvious, it would be hard to prove that the Pirates are losing on purpose. Unfortunately, this will pay off in the long run. Major League Baseball only has itself to blame.

Pirate Morning Report, Foul Balls, Anyone

Final Score: Pirates 4 Phillies 7

How The 2023 Pirates Did: Six of the 2023 Pirates were in the starting lineup last night. Bryan Reynolds came out of his mini funk by hitting a home run and driving in 2 runs. Rudolfo Castro went 2 for 4 and hit a solo home run. The rest of the group did not fare so well. Jason Delay had a particular bad day at the plate, striking out twice and grounding into a double play, when the Pirates had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out in the top of the 7th. That is the inning that Greg Allan bunted so he could get the feeling of the ball hitting his bat. Ke’ Bryan had a double and Oneil Cruz walked and that was about it for the offense of the 2023 Pirates. Castro was involved in some fielding errors in the first, one physical and one mental. It was just a fair day for the 23 Pirates.

Key Moment of The Game: What a first inning. Bryse Wilson threw 43 pitches and 14 of them were hit for foul balls. Only 8 balls were put in play. That left 20 that were balls or swings and misses. The half inning took 24 minutes to play with no pitching change. It was reported that 10 older fans fell asleep and slipped out of their seats, suffering minor injuries, and 3 wanted their money back. The Pirate defense was terrible, the Phillies scored 4 runs and were headed for a relatively easy victory. I have never been a big Bryse Wilson fan, but he deserved a better fate.

Next Game: Tonight, Phillies in Philadelphia. I do not understand why the Pirates are trying to make Tyler Beede a starter. In June and July as a reliever he pitched 26 innings and gave up 5 earned runs. As a starter in the month of August, he has pitched 12 innings and given up 10 earned runs. I would love to hear the explanation. Just bring somebody up from AAA and give them a shot. I am still waiting for 7 of the 2023 Pirates to start a game. When will Newman or Gamel have “scheduled” day off like the aging Reynolds or Hayes.

Pirates Morning Report: The Left Hand Reliever Saga

During the 2022 season, the Pirates have trotted out an array of left-handed relief pitchers. The number is 8 to be exact. Even though it is easy to look up all 8 relievers I will only name 2 of them in this blog. After all, the other 6 have families and friends, probably some children, and let’s face it, they all stunk. These relievers should have a special place in the hearts of all Pirate fans. Without these relievers the Pirates probably would have won at least 10 more games. These relievers have helped the Pirates achieve their goal of 2022 in acquiring a top 5 draft choice in 2023. The Pirates may even get a better pick than that. We are not going to get into heavy analytic stats, just some basic pitching numbers to show how much they have contributed to this goal. I feel that each of these 6 relievers should receive at least a $250,000 bonus at the end of the year, unless they start to improve their performance.

The lefties have thrown 107 innings plus and have given up 72 earned runs. See, I am being kind and not even mentioning all the runs they gave up. This comes out to an ERA 6.06. Dillon Peters who pitched early in the season and is now on the IL, with left elbow inflammation, threw 39 of those innings and had an ERA of 4.58. When you take out his numbers, the other 7 had an ERA of 6.88. In the 107 innings they gave up 111 hits, walked 52 and struck out 99. They almost got up to a strike out per inning but just could not quite do it. When you consider a lot of the time, they were brought in to face left hand hitting batters, these are pretty amazing numbers. I will admit, as bad as these numbers are, I thought they would be even worse. Let’s put it this way, they looked a lot worse doing it. You would think that the Pirates would have to do something in the free agent market to help this situation out in 2023, but maybe not.

If Dillon Peters can come back fully from his injury that will be a big plus, but that may be a big if. There was a left hander, who made a very brief appearance this year, Cam Alldred. He is not even on the 40-man roster, but pitched one inning giving up no runs, 1 hit and striking out 1. He graduated to AAA in the middle of last year and has pitched all of this year there. His numbers have been very good. He has appeared in 39 games, 37 in relief, has an ERA of 2.09 in 64 innings. It will be interesting to see if he might be a September call up. On the other hand, because he seems to be doing so well, they might not, since the drive for the number 1 overall pick in the draft is really heating up. Right now, the Pirates would get the 4th pick. However, they are in a dead heat in the loss column with the Tigers. They are only 3 ahead of the A’s and believe it or not they are just 6 ahead of the putrid Nationals. The loss column is the important number, because any late games that would be cancelled due to weather may not always be made up, unless it affects the playoffs. With 38 games to go the Pirates are smelling blood. Expect to see a lot of Heineman, Allen, Van Meter, Newman, Gamel, and those left hand relievers, as management strives for the worse record in baseball. Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pirates Morning Report, Psychologically Destroyed

Final Score: Pirates 2 Braves 14

How The 2023 Pirates Did: A lot better than the 2022 Pirates. Unbelievably only 5 of the 2023 Pirates were in the starting lineup. Heineman, Van Meter, Newman and Gamel were in the starting lineup, not to be confused with the Four Horseman of Notre Dame. This was the pure horseshit of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mitch Keller was the beneficiary of such a starting lineup. The Van Meter error in the top of the fourth open the flood gates. Oneil Cruz hit the hardest ball in the history of statcast at 122+ MPH. The ground ball that Van Meter missed was 25.8 MPH, the slowest ground ball ever missed in the history of baseball. Just kidding but doesn’t that sound good. Greg Brown was saying before the game, that this would be the first time since the late 1890’s when the Braves and the Pirates started playing baseball, that the Braves would win every game of the season. He said it would be good for the Pirates psyche if they could win the game. By losing 14-2, I think the whole team will need to be replaced and checked into the nearest mental hospital. With such a blowout game the Pirate booth was babbling more than usual. When Kirby Yates came into pitch, Capps mentioned he could not remember many pitchers doing that well their 1st year after Tommy John Surgery. He mentioned Adam Wainwright as the only one, that he could remember. I suggest that he look in this year’s current pitchers, for the name Justin Verlander. Do you even think these guys put an ounce of work in, covering baseball? It’s hard to believe they get a paycheck. Do you ever get the feeling that if the Pirates only had 2 announcers and did a simulcast that your cable bill would be a lot lower?

Key Moment of The Game: Van Meter’s error, Van Meter’s error, Van Meter’s error, Van Meter’s error. Thank God, the final was not 3-2.

Next Game: Not till Friday night, proving there is a God. Phillies in Philadelphia. The Pirates will help another team advance closer to getting into the playoffs. For the 3 games against the Braves, the Pirates scored 4 runs, on 14 hits, 4 walks and struck out 28 times. Yesterday, the Braves scored 14 runs, on 14 hits, 8 walks and struck out 11 times. My own feeling is that most of the strikeouts were designated strikeouts just to keep the game moving. By Sunday Night, the Pirates will feel the same way as W. C. Fields, when he wrote on his gravestone, I’d rather be here than Philadelphia.

Pirates Morning Report, Wow, That Was Fast

Final Score: Pirates 1 Braves 6

How The 2023 Pirates Did: Like a lot of teams, they were dominated by Max Fried. Michael Chavis did hit a home run and Jason Delay got a hit, as the Pirates were only able to get a total of 3 hits. Chavis was able to get the only walk. J. T Brubaker pitched a nice 4 innings giving up 0 runs on 1 hit and 1 walk. Then in the top of the 5th, all hell broke loose. It started with a home run and then the Braves got 5 straight hits, single double, single single, single. They essentially put on a hitting clinic. The last 2 singles were on the first pitch and the double was on the 2nd pitch. They went with the pitches and did not try to swing for the fences. Even the home run by Travis d’Arnaud did not seem like a hard swing. He just stayed with pitch and took a nice even swing. It was also on the first pitch of the at bat. Brubaker’s pitches were not all that bad. This was just a good team showing what it takes to hit the ball and score runs. Let’s hope the Pirates were paying attention, but who knows.

Key Moment of The Game: When Max Fried took the mound, the Pirates were doomed. He pitched a great game and the Pirates only hit the ball hard a few times. Even Chavis’s home run was on the cheap side going over the short fence in left field. The only hope was that Brubaker would match him pitch for pitch and he did that until the 5th, when the Braves showed what a Major League team looks like.

Next Game: This afternoon, Braves, in Pittsburgh. The Braves will be going for the season sweep today. Kevin Padlo got optioned down to AAA yesterday when Ke’Bryan Hayes was activated. He went 0 for 11 but only struck out once. He always looked like he needed a chiropractor. I am sure he will be back in September. With Hayes back, I think there is a good chance that 7 or 8 members of the 2023 Pirates will be in the starting lineup soon.

Pirates Morning Report, Say a Little Prayer For Roansy

Final Score: Pirates 1 Braves 2

How The 2023 Pirates Did: They did not have a great game, but they were the only positives. Cruz hit a home run, with Reynolds, Castro, Marcano, and Chavis getting one hit each. Reynolds did look lousy in his other at bats, especially in the bottom of the 9th against Jansen when he took a 92-mph fast ball right down the middle and then was called out on a perfect pitch that painted the outside corner. The story of the night was the strong pitching performance of Roansy Contreras. He could have had a little better command as he walked 3. He struck out 5 but threw only 89 pitches, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings. I was shocked that the Pirates let him come out for the 7th inning. Then I almost had a stroke when Dwayne Underwood Junior, had a 1,2,3 inning. All Pirate fans should say a little prayer for Roansy, that his arm stays healthy, because this guy is the real deal. Even though the Pirates are trying to limit his work, it is no guarantee, that he won’t avoid arm trouble. Look at the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg. The one thing about Contreras is that he looks so loose out there, and his motion seems so effortless. Cue Dionne Warick and let her rip.

Key Moment of The Game: In the top of the 5th, after a leadoff single, Michael Harris II hit a cheap home run to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. Yes, I will call it cheap, just because it ruined a great performance by Contreras. I can write like the Pirate broadcast booth every once in a while. Plus, who cares if he is the 2nd and Dwayne Underwood is a Junior, enough of all this nonsense. Just like in the song The Cheap Seats by Alabama, the game was close so we will count it as a win.

Next Game: Tonight, Braves in Pittsburgh. Since I started covering what I consider to be the 2023 Pirates, the most that have started is 6. Some games only 5 have been in the starting lineup. Even though I am a little bit on the fence about him, I still think that Jason Delay has done enough to be at least the backup catcher to the hopefully upright Roberto Perez next year. It would be wonderful to see a starting lineup that had 7 or 8 of the 2023 Pirates. This is what a Pirate fan looks forward to, forget about winning.

Pirates Morning Report, 9.5 Runs Per Game Equals 2 Losses

Final Score: Pirates 5 Reds 9

How The 2023 Pirates Did: For the third consecutive game only 5 of the 2023 Pirates were in the starting lineup. Brian Reynolds’s bat cooled off going 0 for 5. The other four, Castro, Mercano, Chavis and Delay had 5 hits among them. They also drove in 4 of the 5 runs with Marcano getting 2 RBIs, and Delay and Castro getting one each. Zach Thompson did not pitch a great game but seemed to be doing alright, only throwing 78 pitches through 5 innings, giving up 3 runs. No question, he was dancing through the raindrops and the double play ball was his friend. The fact remains he threw only 78 pitches and should have come out for the 6th inning. We had just had a bullpen game the night before, so it would have made more sense for the starter to go as long as he could go. When it comes to bullpen usage only The Shadow knows. He brings in one of our awful left-hand relievers, Manny Banuelos, and he promptly walks the first two batters. The Reds give us an out. Then Banuelos gives up a single, triple, and single that scores 4 runs to break the game open 7-2. Where do they find these left-hand pitchers.

Key Moment of The Game: It was early in this one. The Pirates had taken the lead in the bottom of the first, 2-1, and had runners on second and third with one out. Greg Allen hit the ball hard, shocking as it may be, but right at the drawn in shortstop and Ben Gamel taking a nap, was easily doubled off third. Again, this just seemed to set the tone for the game. Mike Minor got out of that inning and pitched into the 6th before giving up 3 more runs. By that time, our overworked bullpen was well on its way to losing the game.

Next Game: Tonight, Braves in Pittsburgh. In the last 2 games the Pirate pitching has given up 19 runs, 27 hits, and 8 walks. You are not going to win many games with that run prevention. The bullpen gave up all but 3 of the runs. I can’t wait to have a 1 run lead going to the 9th. It probably won’t happen this week.

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