Final Score: Pirates 1 Rays 8
Why The Pirates Loss: The Pirates did not pick a good time to have one of their worse games of the season, on both sides of the ball. They made 2 errors and there were other balls that were either misplayed or misjudged, that were ruled hits. This is the 2nd game in a row that the defense has been bad. The offense has not been much better. Again, the Pirates went hitless with runners in scoring position going 0 for 7 and stranding 8 runners. This is their first 3 game losing streak of the season and the offense has scored a total of only 4 runs. Compound that with the fact, that the Rays are hitting at an unbelievably rate. The Ray’s OPS+ is 148, which means they are hitting almost 50% better than the league average, as a team!!!! The Toronto Blue Jays led the league in OPS+ last year with 117. The Pirates have only 3 players with an OPS+ of over 150. This is a Pirate offense, that for the most part as been doing pretty well. To say that the Ray’s offense is on fire is a huge understatement. Mitch Keller, even though he only pitched 5 innings, deserve a much better fate, as the Pirate’s defensive blunders extended many innings. He only gave up one earned run. The Pirates can move on quickly from this one since they play this afternoon.
Key Moment Of The Game: Andrew McCutchen had homered in the top of the 3rd to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead and Keller quickly got the first 2 outs in the bottom of the 3rd. Up to that point Keller looked extremely sharp allowing only one walk. Then all hell broke loose. Line drive single, another line drive single that ate up Bae, that put runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 out. Rodolfo Castro then botched a routine ground ball to allow one run to score and extend the inning. Bang, Brandon Lowe then doubled, and the Rays never looked back from their 3-1 lead.
Next Game: This afternoon, the Rays in Tampa Bay. Will the Pirates be able to snap the 3 game losing streak in Tampa today. I am sure this will not be their last 3 game losing streak, but it sure would feel good to win one today. Certainly, this is no time to panic but I do think there needs to be one change in the lineup. Ke’Bryan Hayes needs to be removed from the leadoff spot, until he shows he can hit and get on base. Currently his OBP is .281, which accounts for his OPS+ of 72. This simply cannot be your leadoff hitter. Vince Velasquez gets the start today. He has been the best Pirate pitcher over the last 3 weeks. He will get the supreme test today. I am really hoping I was wrong about this guy because I would like to see us avoid 4 losses in a row.