Pirates Morning Report: No More Cruz Control

Final Score: Pirates 2 Astros 8

Why The Pirates Lost: Another poor performance by a Pirate starter, this time Roansy Contreras. It was by far the worst start of his young career. From the outset you could tell he just did not have it. In 3.1 innings he gave up 7 runs, 9 hits, and walked 4. I am surprised that they even let him come out for the 4th inning. The bats weren’t much better getting only 3 hits, but the hitters did manage to get 5 walks. It was a lackluster performance, probably triggered by the Oneil Cruz injury. They will need to move on, because things are not going to get any easier.

Key Moment Of The Game: As bad as Contreras was, if he could have just gotten the 3rd out in the first three innings, the score would have been tied 1-1, instead of 5-1 Astros. The Astros got 4 out of the 5 runs after 2 were out. In fact, in the top of the 3rd inning, there was 2 out nobody on, when they added another run, getting 3 straight singles. Then the top of the 4th was a total melt down for Contreras. Some pitchers get off to a slow start, then all of a sudden something clicks, and they pitch a very good game. This was not the case for Contreras last night. Nobody on the Pirates bench seemed to notice this. It was just one of those nights for the young right hander. Hopefully he will be able to shake it off and come back strong his next outing.

Next Game: Tonight, Astros in Pittsburgh. The Astros are throwing another strong starter, Cristian Javier at the Pirates tonight. The Pirates will counter with Mitch Keller who had a great start the last time out. It is way too early in the season to look at any game as being critical, but the Pirates need to have a good game as a Cruzless team. It does not have to be a win, but they need to get back to being competitive. The Pirates brought up Mark Mathias to replace Cruz, who made an uneventful debut last night. Pretty much, a safe move by management, saying this season is over already. Maybe the players will prove them wrong.

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