Pirates Morning Report: The Pattern Is Broken

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.

Pirates Morning Report: The Pattern Continues

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.

Pirates Morning Report: It Was Just A Blip

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.

Pirates Morning Report: From Punchless To Punchout

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.

Pirates Morning Report: Can They Come Out Of This Slump?

The Pirates start a 5 game road trip tonight in Baltimore. The Pirates have lost 9 out of 10 games and there have been various issues, but it’s the offense that has hit rock bottom. They have averaged 1.5 runs per game during this stretch. You are not going to win many games only scoring that many runs, thus the Pirates are 1 and 9. The naysayers have been out in full force with the typical, who didn’t know that, the Pirates stink again, and you knew this was too good to be true. The odds of the Pirates coming out of this in the next 4 weeks in my view is a flip of the coin. Heads the Pirates continue to collapse and around the 60 game mark will be under .500. Tails the Pirates will find a way to get back on track and start to play at least .500 ball or better and will be about 4 to 7 games above .500. One good thing is the Pirates have 4 days off from now until June 1. It will give them at various intervals to collect themselves and reset. Will see if yesterday’s off day has any positive effect. So, what could happen?

Heads: There is no question that the injuries to Oneil Cruz and Ji Man Choi have had a major impact on the Pirates offense. When the season started the 13 position players were all of major league caliber. Canaan Smith-Njigba was the only player who disappointed, and he was sent down. What has been brought up is not major league quality. Josh Palacios, Miguel Andujar, Chris Owings, Mark Mathias, and Tucupita Marcano are all nothing but AAA players. The only one that the jury is still out on is Marcano, who has yet to prove that he can hit Major League pitching. Mathias is back down in the minors but the other 4 are on the team and that is a lot of offensive weaklings to be carrying on a team that desperately needs to score runs. The Pirates are not going to bring up any top prospects until that date in June comes around when they won’t get that year’s credit of service. As ridiculous as this is, it is just part of the baseball way today. Unless one of these 4 players can get on some kind of surprising hot streak, the Pirates record at the 60 game mark will be about 28-32.

Tails: So, what needs to happen if the Pirates are going to come out of this slump. Jack Suwinski needs to get back to being the Jack Suwinski he was during the first 28 games. That is something that could happen. Ke’Bryan Hayes needs to get his OPS+ up over 100. Possible but not likely. Ji Hwan Bae needs to start being more selective and get his on base percentage up to about 350 like it was in the minors. This could happen. There does not seem to be much help in AAA. What the Pirates need is a hard hitting outfielder. This is the least likely thing to happen, but they could make a trade. Who would be a good trade piece. In my view Ke’Bryan Hayes. He is a superior glove but does not look like he is ever going to be much of a hitter. A team that has plenty of hitting but needs a defensive 3rd baseman would be interested in Hayes. He has a great team friendly contract. If the bat is big enough even throw in one of our relievers. The Pirates need to run the bases better. Could Austin Hedges get some breaks at the plate. I know he is a horrible hitter, but he has hit some balls that were crushed that wound up being caught. Like a lot of things hitting can be contagious and once they start hitting it could continue until that magical June date that will allow them to bring up some more Major Leaguers. Hopefully by then, it will not be too late.

Pirates Morning Report: Can’t Overcome Mistakes Every Game

Final Score: Pirates 7 Dodgers 8

Why The Pirates Lost: Simply just too many mistakes. Three errors to begin with one allowing 2 runs to score in the 1st inning on a little bloop double. The Pirate pitchers walked 4 and 3 of those scored. Oviedo went 5.1 innings and seemed to rely too much on his breaking ball but even so did not have any real good luck. Three runs scored on two bloop hits. This time Colin Holderman made it too interesting giving up the big 3 run blast by the .163 hitting Chris Taylor. The Pirate hitters had a big night scoring 7 runs on 12 hits and a walk, but it was not good enough and their record fell to 16-8.

Key Moments Of The Game: In the bottom of the 1st the Pirates had scored 1 run to cut the lead in half and had runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out. Connor Joe then hit a drive down the line in left, that David Peralta made a great diving catch, preventing the Pirates from scoring 2 more runs. The Pirates had the bases loaded with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th. They had loaded the bases on a single, walk and a hit batsman. Andrew McCutchen, who hit the big 3 run homer in bottom of the 4th to give the Pirates a 7-2 lead, worked the count out to 3-1. He swung on a high inside pitch that may or may not have been called a strike and popped out to the catcher to end the inning. All in all, it was not the Pirates night. It was one of their few pitching failure losses of the season. Hopefully, it will be a while before the next one.

The Next Game: Tonight, Dodgers in Pittsburgh. It will be up to Roansy Contreras to try and get the Pirates back on track. Tony Gonsolin will be making his first start of the season for the Dodgers. Whether the Pirates win or lose tonight I do not think is critical, but they need to play a much cleaner game. The team does seem to have a certain amount of resiliency, so a bounce back is likely.

Pirates Morning Report: Rocky Mountain High

Final Score: Pirates 14 Rockies 3

Why The Pirates Won: The Pirate bats exploded for 14 runs on 16 hits and 2 walks. Five players had 2 or more hits led by none other than Mark, (No I’m Not Josh Van Meter In Disguise) Mathias with 4. There were lots of singles, but Andrew McCutchen and Jack Suwinski hit homers and Rodolfo Castro added a double. It was very nice to see the Pirates on the right side of a blowout. Rich Hill pitched a solid 6 innings to bring his ERA below the inflation rate. It was a little surprising to see the Pirates bring in Will Crowe in a mop up role the day after he lost the extra inning game in St. Louis. I don’t know if this is a prelude to a demotion or they might have been trying to get his confidence back, but he did not perform that great giving up 2 runs, while walking 2 and hitting a batter. Could he be another future IL member? An unexpected easy win for the Pirates, considering the Rockies were starting their hottest pitcher, to make their record 10-7.

Key Moment Of The Game: Rich Hill getting out of a 2nd and 3rd and no one out situation in the top of the 1st. It certainly looked like the Pirates were going to give back another early lead when Hill got off to the shaky start of giving up a walk and a double to start the game. After getting an out, on a sharply hit ground ball that did not score a run, Hill walked the next batter to load the bases. The he induced Elias ( I Would Still Be The Best Catcher The Pirates Have AT The Moment), Diaz to hit a ground ball down the third base line, that Hayes made a nifty scoop on, stepped on third for one and easily doubled up Diaz to end the inning. Little did we know at the time, the Pirates would explode for 6 runs in the next inning.

Next Game: Tonight, Rockies in Colorado. Vince (Can I Just Pitch Every Game Against The Cardinals), Velasquez will start for the Buccos. It will be interesting to see if he can follow up his good start he had against the Cardinals or is this one of those things, where a pitcher has a hex over a particular team. The Rockies certainly looked in disarray last night. It was more than just the score as they just looked lackadaisical. The Pirates have accomplished my preset goal on this road trip of 3 wins, so any more would be gravy. As we all know just like bacon, everything tastes better with gravy.

Pirates Morning Report: WOW!!!!!!!

Final Score: Pirates 7 Astros 4

Why The Pirates Won: I really don’t know. This will be looked upon as one of the great wins of this season, but the Pirates really did not play that well. In fact, Ji Hwan Bae epitomized the entire game. In the 4 previous appearances, he had lousy at bats swinging at more balls than strikes, striking out twice, flying out once to short left field, and grounding out. He didn’t look that great in the final at bat until he got a low inside the plate change up and bombed it into the right center field stands to win the game in the bottom of the 9th. All this drama would not have been necessary if it were not for an error by Rodolfo Castro that later, allowed the Astros to tie the game on a double by Chas McCormick in the top of the 9th. The Pirates took the lead in the bottom of the 6th when Ji Man Choi hit his 2nd home run in as many nights. Later in the inning, Pirates manufactured another run when Ke’Bryan Hayes doubled and stole third. Then Canann Smith-Njigba who also did not have a good night at the plate, came through when it mattered and hit a fly ball to left, deep enough to score Hayes easily. Keller, not quite as sharp as his last outing, still pitched a solid 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 2 solo homers. He had few other balls that were scary deep, but the outfield corralled them to turn them into nothing but long outs. It was a great win over the defending champs and the Pirates are now 7-4.

Key Moment Of The Game: The Pirates were down 2-0 going into the bottom of the 2nd, and other than the Ji Man Choi’s 2 out double, had not done much in the 1st. The 2nd started out quietly with a ground out by Hayes and a strikeout by Smith-Njigba. Then Rodolfo (Don’t Worry I Am Not Going To Make An Error Every Game) Castro got hit on the foot by the pitch. While the Pirate announcers were discussing how long it takes for the pain to go away, Jack Suwinski took a 1-0 fastball and crushed it over the right field stands to tie the game 2-2. This homer put the fire back into this team and was just what the doctor had ordered. Despite making numerous mistakes and bad at bats, the Pirates went on to win, and the season is back on again.

Next Game: This afternoon Astros, in Pittsburgh. Rich ( I Can’t Be This Bad) Hill will take the mound for the Pirates in another rubber match. Hill may have some success tomorrow, because the Astros could be overconfident and laughing too hard in the batter’s box to be able to make decent contact. This was a huge win last night and it insured that this was not going to be an Astro sweep. After this, it does not get easier as we go to St. Louis for a 4 game series. Every win is important, but this one may have saved the season.

Pirates Morning Report: Devastating Win

Final Score: Pirates 1 White Sox 0

Why The Pirates Won: It was a surprising game in that both teams scored a combined 38 runs in the first two games of the series. Then boom, the pitchers took over the game yesterday and the Pirate pitchers were just a little bit better. Johan Oviedo pitched a strong 6 and 2/3rds innings giving up 0 runs, 5 hits, and did not walk a batter. The bullpen came on strong again to complete the shutout and the Pirates had another series win and improved to 6-3.

Key Moment Of The Game: You could say this may be the key moment of the season, the Oneil Cruz injury in the bottom of the 6th. It was the perfect example of indecision causing the most severe outcome. I don’t think he knew whether to come in head first or make a hard slide, resulting in him making an awkward move, with a broken ankle as the result. All fractured ankles are not created equal, so until more is known he could be back at the All Star break(no pun intended) or miss the entire season. It will be interesting to see who the Pirates bring up and how they will do. As the title says this was a devastating win.

Next Game: Who cares the season is over. Just kidding, we play the Astros in Pittsburgh tonight. This team’s resiliency is going to be tested early. The blog feels gloomy this morning. Roansy Contreras will get the start tonight and I do feel he will be up to the task of facing the mighty Astros.

Pirates Morning Report: 19 Hits Will Do It Every Time

Final Score: Pirates 13 White Sox 9

Why The Pirates Won: The Pirate bats really came alive to easily overcome a very poor performance by Rich Hill. The Pirates had 3 doubles, a triple, and 2 home runs to put 13 runs on the board. Bryan Reynolds had a huge game going 3 for 5, with a double, triple, and a home run, driving in 6 runs. Six Pirates had 2 or more hits. It was simply a hitters and bullpen win. I am sure you would have to go back a long way to find the last team that scored 9 runs against the Pirates but lost the game.

Key Moment Of The Game: After 4 and a half innings the score was tied 7-7 in a back and forth slugfest. Then after one out in the bottom of the 5th the Pirates started. Double by Conner Joe, Ji Hwan Bae singles, Jason( I’m pounding the ball), Delay singles, Joe scores, Oneil Cruz walks, and then Bryan Reynolds laces a ball down in the right field corner for a triple, driving in 3 runs and then scoring himself on a throwing error. This made the score 12-7 and you really felt the Pirates had finally taken over the game. The bullpen came through with Will Crowe pitching the last 3 innings, having a shaky ninth but sealed the deal and the Pirates are now 5-2.

Next Game: Tonight, White Sox, in Pittsburgh. The other free agent pitcher Vince( I hope they score 13 runs for me because I am going to need them) Velaquez will make his second start of the year. Hopefully he will fair a little better than Hill did yesterday. Not much negative you can say about this team right now. There are some individuals who are struggling right now but it makes all that struggling a lot easier to take when you are winning. 5 and 2 feels real good.

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