Pittsburgh Pirates series takeaways vs. Cincinnati Reds


The Pittsburgh Pirates did not play their best series of the year against the Washington Nationals. Getting swept is never an ideal result, but there’s nothing that can be done about it now. Only thing to do is move on and focus on the next opponent. In this case, it’s the Cincinnati Reds as they come into PNC Park for a three game series. The Pirates will look to bounce back from a poorly played series on all fonts and start a new winning streak against one of their arch-rivals in the NL Central division.

Game One: Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.74ERA) vs. Josh Smith (0-0, 0.00ERA)

Result: Pirates win 7-6

Winning Pitcher: Rob Scahill (2-3, 1.80ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Pedro Villarreal (0-2, 3.60ERA)

Save: Mark Melancon (24, 1.82ERA)

  • What went right:
    • Francisco Cervelli hit a game-tying three-run home run to kickstart the 7 run 4th inning.
    • Andrew McCutchen went 2-3 with a homme run, two RBI and a run scored.
    • Starling Marte made two hugely clutch catches. Including a run saving catch in the 7th inning off the bat of Todd Frazier to keep the Pirates in front.
    • Tony Watson and Mark Melancon shut the door in dominating fashion as they both struck out the side to end the ballgame.
  • What went wrong:
    • Jeff Locke had a poor outing. Going four innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits.
    • Gregory Polanco‘s sliding problems continued as he slid off second base and was called out on review.
    • Despite getting the win, Rob Scahill did not pitch well. He went 0.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits.
    • Jordy Mercer had a very poor game. Going 0-3 at the plate and committing an error in the field.

Game Two: Gerrit Cole (11-2, 1.78ERA) vs. Mike Leake (4-4. 4.01ERA)

Result: Pirates lose 5-2

Winning Pitcher: Mike Leake (5-4, 3.91ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.16ERA)

Save: J. J. Hoover (1, 1.39ERA)

  • What went right:
    • The bullpen did a very good job of keeping the team in the ballgame. Jared Hughes, Chris Volstad and Antonio Bastardo went a combined 4.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing 4 hits and striking out 3.
    • Andrew McCutchen reached base twice. Going 1-3 with a walk.
    • Chris Stewart had a pretty solid game. Going 1-4 with one RBI and caught a would-be base stealer.
    • Pedro Alvarez went 1-4 with one RBI and a run scored.
  • What went wrong:
    • Gerrit Cole had his worst start of the season. Going only 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out only 5.
    • Billy Hamilton walked to lead-off the ballgame, stole two bases and eventually scored the game’s first run.
    • Marlon Byrd had a huge game. Going 2-4 with a home run, three RBI and a run scored.
    • Pirates went 0-9 with runners in scoring position and could never get the big hit to get back into the game.

Game Three: A.J. Burnett (6-3. 2.05ERA) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (5-5, 3.48ERA)

Result: Pirates lose 5-4 (13 innings)

Winning Pitcher: Pedro Villarreal (1-2, 3.00ERA)

Losing Pitcher: Rob Scahill (2-4, 2.08ERA)

  • What went right:
    • A.J. Burnett had a good bounce back start. Going six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and striking out five.
    • Andrew McCutchen reached base three times. Going 1-4 with a run scored and two walks.
    • Vance Worley had three very solid innings of relief. Allowing zero runs on two hits and striking out two.
    • Jordy Mercer and A.J. Burnett both had two out RBI and took advantage of a Reds error to take the lead.
  • What went wrong:
    • Pirates allowed another first inning run this series.
    • Arquimedes Caminero gave up the lead by giving up a home run to noted Pirates killer, Todd Frazier.
    • Todd Frazier just continued to annoy all Pirates fans. Going 3-6 with a home run, three RBI and a run scored.
    • Brandon Phillips made some sharp plays in the field and had a big game at the plate. Going 3-7 with the game winning home run, two RBI and two runs scored.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates had a stretch of really solid baseball. You do not win eight in a row by accident, but right now they are struggling a little bit. This is their second consecutive series loss and they did not play particularly well at all. They allowed first inning runs in each game and never really took control of any of the three games. This is not the end of the season as they will undoubtedly turn it around and get back to playing the baseball they’re capable of. The important thing is to not get too high when things are going well and not get too low when they are not. I am a firm believer in you are never as good as you look at your absolute best and never as bad as you look at your absolute worst. A bad four games out of five is an almost unavoidable streak during the course of 162 games. To quote Andy Van Slyke, “Every season has its peaks and valleys. What you have to try to do is eliminate the Grand Canyon.”

Series Result: Pirates lose 2-1

2015 win/loss record: 40-32

2015 series record: 10-10-3

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