Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense stagnant again in 3-0 loss to Cincinnati Reds
By Tyler Waite
The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their fifth consecutive game Wednesday night in a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds. Gerrit Cole had arguably his worst and only bad start of the season, giving up three runs over five innings of work on 91 pitches. The Pirate offense failed to produce yet again, netting only seven hits on the evening and going 0-6 with runners in scoring position.
Mike Leake opposed Cole for the Reds, who shined in his start. He gave up no runs on six hits over eight innings, limiting the Pirates to zero extra base hits. Aroldis Chapman came on in relief and earned the save. Chapman hasn’t given up a single earned run on the year so far.
Brandon Phillips plated the first Cincinnati run, scoring Todd Frazier on an infield single in the fourth inning. A Mike Leake ground rule double doubled the Reds’ advantage later in the inning. Marlon Byrd hit a solo home run in the fifth to score the final run of the game, making the score 3-0.
What Stood Out
The Pirates’ offense has been anemic during the team’s five game losing streak. The offense rarely hits the ball out of the infield, and the team isn’t taking any walks. Pirates’ batters failed to generate a walk for the tenth game this season. For a team that emphasized the importance of on-base percentage last season, this is a troubling trend.
Jung Ho Kang continued to be the only bright spot in the Pirate offense as of late, as he had two hits on the night, including a double off of Chapman in the ninth inning. Kang may and should begin to see more time in the starting lineup if players like Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison continue to perform poorly at the plate.
An incident involving Joey Votto at the end of third inning may result in the former National League MVP receiving a suspension. After striking out on three pitches to end the third inning, Votto appeared to have words with Cole. After Votto began arguing with home plate umpire Chris Conroy, the Reds’ first baseman was ejected, which led to Votto storming towards the umpire, contacting him with his chest multiple times. Contact with an umpire often results in punishment handed down by Major League Baseball.
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A.J. Burnett (0-1, 1.45 ERA) tries to be the stopper that Cole couldn’t be Thursday night as he trots out for the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates (12-15). The Cincinnati Reds (14-13) will counter with 25-year-old righty Anthony DeSclafani (2-2, 2.03 ERA) as the team tries to go for the sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM at PNC Park.