Pittsburgh Pirates home stand report card for June 27-July 2

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 22: Pitcher Gerrit Cole(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 22: Pitcher Gerrit Cole(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Cole
ATLANTA, GA – MAY 22: Pitcher Gerrit Cole, (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /

Analysis: Another home stand has come and gone. Boy was this a week that Pittsburgh Pirates fans would like to forget.

The stretch began Tuesday night with the first of three games with the Tampa Bay Rays. Things did not get off to a good start. After scoring two runs to tie the game in the ninth inning, the Bucs were not able to close the deal, as a David Freese error led to two Tampa runs scoring in the tenth and a 4-2 loss. Pittsburgh bounced back the next night with a relatively easy 6-2 win. Rookies Josh Bell, Jose Osuna and Elias Diaz produced all six of the runs, with Bell hitting his 15th homer of the season.

In Thursday’s rubber match, the Pirates were solid all the way around. Jameson Taillon pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, John Jaso and Gregory Polanco went deep and the bullpen was stellar for the second night in a row as the Bucs cruised to a 4-0 win. As solid as the Pirates were Thursday night, they were equally atrocious in the series opener against the Giants. The 12-5 scoreline says a lot, but the Bucs were even worse than that score shows.

The offense had several chances to get to Johnny Cueto but could only manage three runs. Gerrit Cole was horrendous, as was Clint Hurdle’s managing. Friday was one to forget. Just when fans thought things couldn’t get worse, the Pirates managed to outdo themselves in the penultimate game of the home stand. The Bucs walked ten times, but only managed one run, against a less than stellar pitcher in Matt Moore, and lost the game 2-1 in 11 frames, wasting a career afternoon from Chad Kuhl. 

Sunday was also pitiful. A combination of Clint Hurdle’s unwillingness to use Felipe Rivero in a high leverage spot, along with a horrible lineup selection, undid six solid innings from Williams, and the Bucs fell, 5-3. Overall, this Pirates homestand started as an opportunity to gain ground in the weak National League Central Division and ended as one big disappointment. Here is a breakdown of how PBC performed in the major areas of the game this week using a “report card” style format. Let’s get into it.