The Round: Played South Park Score 85 Greens In Reg. 6 Putts 36
The Good: The weather and the condition of the course
The Bad: My entire game. You would have thought this was my first round of the year not just the first after an 8 day lay off. The greens were in great shape but a little faster than I anticipated, and this led to many 3 putts, although technically I had only 2. I had many balls on the fringe and not that far from the pin that I could not get up and down. My driving was horrible. I almost missed the ball on my opening tee shot and hit it dead right about 150 yards off the tee. My driving the rest of the day was not good. My putting was just as bad, and I could not make anything. The iron game was the best of the worst but really was not that great. At least I was back on the course and playing.
The Luck Of The Round: I had one great break when a second shot on a par 4 went right through a tree and almost made it to the green. No luck on the green, as I had many a good putt that could not find the hole. It was a day to forget.
Next Round: Tomorrow, Indian Run in Avella, Pa. Back in the groove and hopefully a better day.
Final Score: Pirates 2 Giants 1
Why The Pirates Won: The Giants could not take advantage of the Pirate’s generosity. The Giants had runners on base in every inning, but the bottom of the 9th, and could only score 1 run. Johan Oviedo was only able to pitch 4 and 1/3 innings giving up only the 1 run on 3 hits, but walked 5, while striking out 5. He threw 92 pitches in the brief outing. The Giants were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position but it seemed worse than that. Every runner that got on base in the first 8 innings got on with less than 2 outs and 5 times with nobody out. The Giants only scored in the 1st inning. After Oviedo left in the 5th inning, the A bullpen took over. They did issue two more walks over the last 4 and2/3 innings but were dominate most of the way, with David Bednar having the first 3up, 3 down inning of the game, in the bottom of the 9th, with 2 strikeouts. The Pirate offense was not much better, but they found out that if you give you shall receive. The go ahead run scored in the top of the 5th on a wild pitch. Rodolfo Castro would have not even been on third base if Jason Delay’s single had not been misplayed by the left fielder.
Key Moments Of The Game: There were many, but in the bottom of the 5th, the Giants were able to move two runners into scoring position, thanks to Ji Hwan(I’m Still Trying To Understand Baseball) Bae making a nonchalant throw on a fly ball to medium right centerfield. Thankfully Dauri Moreta got the next Giant batter to hit a weak ground ball to third and the inning was over. In the bottom of the 6th the Giants led off with a single. One out later Jose Hernandez entered the game. On his 3rd pitch Ed Bailey lined a shot down the line, but right at Conner Joe for an unassisted double play, to end the inning. They had men on base in the 7th and 8th but could not advance them. The lack of the big hit helped the Pirates climb back up to .500 at 27-27
Next Game: This afternoon, the Giants in San Franscisco. Can the Pirates do the impossible and win the series to have a .500 road trip? They do have Mitch Keller taking the mound today. He did not have the best outing last time out, but I think he will come through today. The Pirate offense, now that’s another question. Could you please squeeze out at least 4-5 runs? That’s not asking too much is it? You cannot depend on wild pitches for the rest of the season.
Final Score: Pirates 4 Giants 14
Why The Pirates Lost: A complete pitching collapse with 2 horrible innings. Rich (The Old) Hill gave up 5 runs in the 2nd and Cody(The Young) Bolton gave up 8 in the 7th in just 1/3 inning of work. I don’t know if this is good news but the Pirates broke the pattern of winning the first game of the series, which they have done over the last 3 series. Then they would lose the next 2 to lose the series. Now, of course, they could be swept. The offense did a little better but still only produced 4 runs with Jack Suwinski hitting 2 useless home runs. They were 1for 9 with runners in scoring position or they may have gotten closer when it was still a game. One oddity,especially in today’s game, the Pirates did not walk and struck out only 3 times. They had 7 non home run hits so they put the ball in play 31 times.
Key Moment Of The Game: Probably the 2 run, 2 out homer by Austin Slater to make the score 5-0 in the bottom of the 2nd. Let’s face it, in a game like this there really aren’t any “key moments”. They did manage to cut the lead to 6-3, but Cody Bolton decided to throw batting practice and it was a blowout.
Next Game: Tonight, Giants in San Francisco. There is no question things look mighty bleak for the Pirates right now. Sometimes a game like this is the game that can turn things around. Remember, this slide started right after the Pirates blew out the Nationals 16-1. The Pirates will need to step it up in every phase of the game if they are going to turn this around. Or maybe we are just going to need another calendar flip to June to get back on track.
Final Score: Pirates 3 Mariners 6, in 10 innings
Why The Pirates Loss: The Pirates failed at the plate in situational hitting. They were 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position. They failed to move runners over in key situations. The Pirates continue to bat Ke’Bryan Hayes too high in the order and in this game it cost them dearly. Luis Ortiz was not efficient only going 5 innings, throwing 99 pitches. He gave up 3 runs, 5 hits, walking 4, while striking out 6. He gave up 2 home runs that barely left the park. Another hard luck day for the young right handed. The Pirates lost their 3rd series in a row in the same bizarre manner. They win the opening game. They lose the next 2 games in the series. One they lose by a wide margin. The other they lose in heart breaking fashion. After the great start, the Pirates stand at 26-26.
Key Moments Of The Game: In the top of the 9th, the Pirates had a runner on 2nd with nobody out and failed to score. They were worse in the top of the 10th, having runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out and failed to score. In the 10th, Connor Joe may have had the worst at bat of the season, taking 2 strikes, then striking out on a ball in the dirt. The Mariners knew what they were doing when they walked Rodolfo Castro to load the bases to get to Hayes. He did hang tough but ended up striking out to leave runners in scoring position with 2 out for the fourth time. The Pirates chose Robert (They Think I Can Still Pitch) Stephenson to start the bottom of the 10th and you knew the game was over. He threw an 86 MPH slider right in the heart of the plate and Eugenio Suarez crushed it for the walk off home run. Hayes got the same type of pitch in the top of the inning and chose to take it for a called strike. Enough said.
Next Game: This afternoon, the Giants in San Francisco. Rich Hill takes the mound today for the Pirates and you almost hope they lose today to break the pattern. They say all things must come to an end but I don’t know about this stretch that the Pirates are on. They just can’t seem to get any momentum going. There have been many factors but they are just not playing good baseball and they are paying the price.
Final Score: Pirates 0 Mariners 5
Why The Pirates Lost: The Pirates went from 7 home runs to 2 hits and 17 strikeouts. Suwinski, Hayes, and Santana each struck out 3 times. They did manage 3 walks but were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. Vince Velasquez could only go 2 innings before having elbow discomfort again. His whole day was nothing but bad luck. The offense went south big time and the Pirates fell to 26-25.
Key Moment Of The Game: It looked like Velasquez might get out of the 1st inning with only 1 run scoring after giving up opening doubles back to back to start the game. He got the next two batters to fly out. On the first pitch to Eugenio Suarez, he checked his swing, and blooped a hit just over the head of Bae to score the 2nd run. The Mariners added 2 more hits to extend the lead 3-0. We did not know at the time that the Pirates would be reverting back to their punchless selves. The game was essentially over after one inning.
Next Game: This afternoon, Mariners in Seattle. Luis Ortiz will take the mound for the Pirates today coming off his best career start. Can the Pirates finally win a series? If they don’t they will drop to .500. Maybe this will be a one game hitting slump. Yesterday was just a plain old depressing loss. Today, just has to be better.
Final Score: Pirates 11 Mariners 6
Why The Pirates Won: The Pirates exploded for a record tying 7 home runs. Mitch Keller did not have his best stuff last night and did get roughed up for 6 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, while striking out 8. What is amazing is that the Pirates let him come out for the 7th inning this time. He promptly gave up a walk and a home run to make the score 10-6. Since we won, we won’t need the long nonsensical explanation we got the last time when they took him out after 6 innings. They must have loved the way he was pitching from the stretch last night, since he got to do it so much.
The Key Moment Of The Game: In the top of the 5th Bryan Reynolds tripled in 2 runs with nobody out. The next 2 Pirate batters made outs that did not score the run, and it looked like for the 2nd time in the game they were not going to get a runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs, and the score would remain 4-2. Jack Suwinski ended all that thinking when he took a 1-1 curveball and smashed it into the right field seats. Ke’Bryan Hayes followed with another homer and the Pirates had a 7-2 lead. They continued to add onto their lead and won the game fairly easily.
Next Game: This Afternoon, Mariners in Seattle. Vince Velasquez makes his return to the rotation today hopefully to start up right where he left off. This is the third series in a row that the Pirates have won the first game. In the previous two they lost the next 2 games. That pattern needs to stop today. Will the offense continue to produce or was this just a blip, like before, on the radar. This will determine their success.
Final Score: Pirates 2 Rangers 3
Why The Pirates Loss: It is a broken record. The punchless Pirates continue to be, quite frankly, punchless. Yesterday 8 hits, all singles, and 3 walks could only produce 2 runs. Part of the problem is the lineup construction. Why would you place a batter who has a batting average of .232, an on base percentage of .292 and has an OPS+ of 76 , 24% below league average, and bat him 3rd? Why do the Pirates think that Ke’Bryan Hayes is going to hit? Then why would you bat Chris Owings at all? Don’t tell me he got a hit. It was just a pop up that fell in. His other 3 bats were a double play ball with 1st and 3rd and one out, a failed sacrifice attempt which was pathetic, and finally taking a called 3rd strike, that was right down the middle. Johan Oviedo had a shaky 1st inning giving up 3 runs but settled down to pitch a solid 5 and 2/3 innings. His total line was 3 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 5 batters. It was another game of offensive ineptitude, as the Pirates fell to 25-24
Key Moment Of The Game: After scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning, the Pirate offense did not do much until the bottom of the 8th. After 1 out, the Pirates loaded the bases with 2 singles and a walk with Rodolfo Castro coming to bat to face the left hander, Will Smith. Castro is a better right handed hitter, but unfortunately hit a pop up to short left field, that could not get the run in. Jack Suwinski struck out, ending the inning and essentially the game. By the way, according to Greg Brown, Oneil Cruz made an error in the 6th inning while sitting on the bench. The only thing worse than the Pirate team right now are the Pirate announcers. I do not know what they are looking at but it is not the game. We are almost through May and they still haven’t adjusted to the pitch clock, and probably never will.
Next Game: Friday, the Mariners in Seatle. The Pirates start a west coast road trip, great, not only do we have to watch this kind of baseball but lose sleep in the process. They play 6 against the Seatle Mariners and San Francisco Giants. A 3-3 road trip would be nice but unlikely. It is hard to tell where the Pirates are going to get help with this anemic offense. Nobody in AAA is really tearing it up. Canaan Smith-Njigba is hitting a little better but not much. Travis Swaggerty is just coming off the IL and wasn’t doing that well anyway. A trade seems very unlikely, although they desperately need an outfielder that can hit. A day off today which seems to do them no good. Can’t wait till Friday. Do you see any weaknesses now John Wehner? Oh, brother.
Final Score: Pirates 1 Rangers 6
Why The Pirates Lost: Again, a punchless night for the Pirates. Even when they got hits they managed to fall asleep at the wheel. Rich Hill pitched ok but could only get one out in the sixth inning and was charged with 5 runs but 2 of those scored on balks, one of which Hill did not even commit. He threw 98 pitches and struck out 9 batters but his at them ball wasn’t working. DUJ made an appearance and promptly gave up a ball that went to the fence in left and then another that did go over the fence in left in the span of 5 pitches. At least DUJ is efficient.
Key Moments Of The Game: The Pirates were the epitome of ineptitude throughout the game. The 1st inning runner on 3rd, one out could not score. The 3rd inning Ji Hwan (I’m Not Too Sure I Understand All The Rules) Bae singles but then gets picked off first base. McCutchen walks, followed by a Bryan Reynolds double bringing McCutchen home but could have brought Bae home, which would have tied the score. Then in the 8th Bae is on first again but now the Pirates are trailing 6-1 and McCutchen singles to right and Bae is thrown out at second because he thought he would try for third, changed his mind and could not get back into second. The Pirates balked in 2 runs. That was enough to win the game. The score could have been 4-3 after 8 innings if the Pirates knew how to play baseball. Nathan Eovaldi pitched a complete game, but it could have been a lot tougher if the game was as close as it should have been. The Pirates fall to 25-23, struggling to stay above .500.
Next Game: This afternoon, Rangers in Pittsburgh. The Pirates hope to avoid the same pattern of the previous series where they won the first game and then lost the next 2. Johan Oviedo will start for the Pirates, and he is coming off a good outing. The Pirates right now are just making blunders and not hitting with men in scoring position or on 3rd with less than 2 outs. Will today be the day they can really change this around?
Final Score: Pirates 6 Rangers 4
Why The Pirates Won: Luis Ortiz picked a great time to pitch the best game of his early career, going 7 and 2/3 innings only giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks, while striking out 4. He did this against one of the best hitting teams in baseball. The Pirate bats did get 11 hits to go along with 5 walks, but through the first 6 innings could not get the big hit, thus only scoring 1 run going into the bottom of the 7th.
The Key Moment Of The Game: With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 7th the Pirates quickly made 2 outs and you had to figure that it was going to be 1-1 going into the top of the 8th. This looked like it could be the third game in a row that the bullpen would blow. But wait, ye of little faith. Reynolds got a base hit, with Suwinski following that up with a walk. Carlos Santana comes up with the big hit, but Reynolds is thrown out at the plate. Replay reverses the call, and the Pirates lead 2-1. All right, Holderman in the 8th, Bednar in the 9th, the bullpen redeems themselves. Don’t get that hot dog yet. Hayes walks. Tucupita Marcano comes up to the plate and works the count to 2-2. On pitch number 5 he drills it deep over the centerfield fence for his 1st career grand slam. Paramedics had to be called to 3 sections of the stadium. The Pirates led 6-1 over the mighty Rangers. The Rangers made it interesting over the last 2 innings, but the Pirates hung on for a much needed win to get 3 games over .500 at 25-22.
Next Game: Tonight, Rangers in Pittsburgh. The Pirates go up against another hot pitcher in Nathan Eovaldi, who in his last 3 starts has not gone less than 7 innings and missed a complete game by 1/3 of an inning 2 starts ago. He will face Rich (Can I Put Two Good Starts Together At 43) Hill. The last time Hill had this kind of mismatch he pitched his best game of the season. The Pirates are battling. Will it be enough?
The Round: Played South Park Score 79 Green In Reg. 7 Putts 31
The Good: Hit some good irons again, even though I only had 7 GIR’s, but I had a lot of balls on the fringe relatively close to the pin. I drove the ball well through the first 10 holes and number 18. The weather was perfect. My short game shots were good even though I only got it up and down 5 out of 11 times.
The Bad: Putting was off again. I missed way too many 4 to 7 foot putts. My chipping and pitching were good, but I could not finish it off by making the putt. Particularly galling was a 3-putt green on the par 5 tenth hole where I had reached the green in 2 and only had about a 15 foot putt for eagle. I was a little too bold on the eagle putt and ran it about 4 feet past the hole. Then missed the comeback putt for a 3 putt par that really took the sails out of the round. I hit my best drive of the day on 10 to set up the approach to the green. For the next 5 driving holes I did not hit very good drives and 2 of them cost me bogies. I did finish with a very nice drive on 18 but by then the round was toast.
The Luck Of The Round: I had a good break on the par 3 8th where I hit a gap wedge really thin but it came out ok within 12 feet of the pin. Had a tough break on the par 5 fourth where my ball just could not get past this little tree. I had a restricted backswing and actually hit the ball better that expected and it went over the green that led to a bogey on a fairly easy hole. Just could not get the ball in the hole although I hit a lot of good putts.
Next Round: May 31 at South Park. Taking a little non golfing vacation over the Memorial Day weekend and won’t be playing until the 31st.