The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their fourth straight game Tuesday night, falling 7-1 to the Cincinnati Reds. The game was never truly close, as the Reds went up 2-0 early and never relinquished the lead. Jeff Locke pitched seven innings, but gave up four earned runs over that span and might have been pulled earlier if the game was close. Jared Hughes gave up no runs in one inning of relief duty, while Antonio Bastardo‘s ERA ballooned to 7.50, as he gave up three earned runs on three hits and a walk in the ninth inning.
The Reds trotted out young righty Michael Lorenzen for just his second career start, who held the Pirates to a measly three hits and one run over six innings. In his first outing, Lorenzen gave up three runs over five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. The lone Pirate run came on a Starling Marte solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, his seventh of the year. That was the lone bright spot on another dismal showing by the Bucco offense.
What Stood Out
Marte, Neil Walker, and Pedro Alvarez were the only Pirates to get hits on the night. The only positives to truly take away from this game were the seven walks and the seven strikeouts by Pirates’ batters. The K:BB ratio was 1:1 on the evening, which is a vast improvement over the showing the team has had so far this season. If the team can just turn these walks into runs and continue to make more contact instead of striking out, good things will eventually happen.
Andrew McCutchen‘s average, which had once risen to above .200, has now dropped to .185, and his slugging percentage is now under .300. He’s not helping the team at all up to this point, and it’s worth considering whether a replacement-level player could match McCutchen’s production. If he is out for an extended period of time on the bench or on the disabled list, the team may very well not miss this version of him.
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Antonio Bastardo continues to pitch poorly in relief, as his ERA now stands at a lofty 7.50. A trade to acquire him from the Philadelphia Phillies over the offseason brought along the hope that he would be an asset to the bullpen. This is not the case so far, and the bullpen as a whole has been split in terms of effective relievers and disappointments so far this season.
Gerrit Cole (4-0, 1.76 ERA), the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, takes the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates (12-14) as he tries to act as the stopper Wednesday night. Mike Leake (1-1, 3.03 ERA) will trot out for the Cincinnati Reds (13-13), and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM at PNC Park.