The Pittsburgh Pirates Shark Tank is Leaking


May 27, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage (54) talks with Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (36) during the third inning of a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates offense battled back against the ripe for a sweepin’ New York Mets to tie the game last night in front of about 200 fans at Citi Field.  The bases were loaded with Buccos and  Starling Marte singled which reset the game at two runs a piece.  What happened next is the most curious part of the Pirates struggles in 2014.  The shark tank sprung another leak.

But before we get to that, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Edinson Volquez.  The right hander gave up two runs, but the bigger part of the story was the fact that he was popping the cheddar, routinely firing in the mid-90s, even touching 98 miles per hour.  #VolquezPower allowed a run in the third on a single by Bobby Abreu, yeh, he’s still swinging a bat in Major League Baseball.  The other run came in the fourth when Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares both doubled.

The start was a struggle as he walked five Mets batters and was gone by the sixth inning.

And that’s when we went insane.

May 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jeanmar Gomez (30) looks on in the dugout against the Baltimore Orioles before the first inning at PNC Park. The Orioles won 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Hurdle went to Jeanmar Gomez.  Now we understand that Hurdle has to use what he has to use, but what about the game log of Jeanmar Gomez in 2014 screams that when the game is tied that’s the pitcher to turn to?

We are serious.  What about Gomez infatuates the Pirates management?  The right hander allowed a hit in every April outing.  He gave up at least one run in seven of the nine appearances he made.  Gomez did grab two holds against the Nationals, so perhaps that’s the motive, but it’s just hard to imagine allowing a pitcher such as Gomez to go to the bump when Wilson is an option.  It’s maddening.

Jeanmar Gomez gamelog

Right on cue, the game wasn’t tied any longer.

Gomez was replaced after looking just a tad better than 50 Cent who tried to throw out the first pitch.  Hurdle went to Justin Wilson who then pitched like a madman getting three strikeouts as he recorded the next five outs as we laughed hysterically.    The breaking ball from #BigWillyStyle was as ridiculous as the decision to not insert him into the tie game.  Or perhaps the more ridiculous decision was why the Pirates haven’t allowed Wilson to return to becoming a starter coming into this season.   The concept was brushed off by Pirates management, but now with starters struggling at an alarming rate, in hindsight it appears an opportunity was lost.  But then again, Wilson and Tony Watson are the only bright spots on this staff at the moment.

Back to the point at hand.  Deciding on whether to use Gomez or Wilson to in a tie game doesn’t seem too complicated.

Wilson has a FIP of 2.17.  Gomez has a FIP of 5.86.  What’s so hard to understand?

Maybe making it more simple is that Wilson brings half a win above replacement.  Gomez is below replacement level.  What’s so hard to understand?

Or even easier, Wilson is just better this year.  Much better.

The Pirates bullpen is mortal.  Neal Huntington talked about it.  We get it.  It happens, but what is going to be done to address the situation?  It seems obvious that changes need made. Last night was the perfect example, Gomez didn’t even allow the Mets to beat the Pirates.  Gomez did it himself.  The Pirates need bullpen upgrades, but refuse to acknowledge the situation. Surely bullpen help won’t break the bank right?

Of course, pitching wasn’t the only problem, the Epidemic was on display as the team got one knock in seven plate appearances with runners in scoring position.