Pittsburgh Pirates Continue to be Dominated by the Last Place Reds
Things continue to go from bad to worse for the Pittsburgh Pirates
After Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss against the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 51-56 this season. This includes being a miserable 1-8 against the Reds who are in last place in the National League Central.
This loss dropped the Pittsburgh Pirates to 2-8 in their past ten games. Six of these eight losses have come against teams with a losing record. The Pirates remain the only team in Major League Baseball with a winning record against teams over .500, but a losing record against sub-.500 teams this season.
It took until the top of the 4th inning, but the Cincinnati Reds struck first on Wednesday night.
Jesse Winkler and Joey Votto hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. This gave the Reds runners on the corners with no one out. Much to the credit of Pirates’ starter Trevor Williams, he would hold the Reds to just 1 run in the top of the 4th inning.
After Votto’s single, Adam Duvall hit a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 Reds. Williams then struck out Scooter Gennett looking for the second out of the inning. He then worked around a poor defensive play by David Freese that allowed Eugenio Suarez to reach base with 2 outs to hold the Reds to just a single run in the inning.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates faced Robert Stephenson on Wednesday night. Much like Homer Bailey, Cincinnati’s starter on Tuesday night, Stephenson entered the game having an awful 2017 season owing a 7.86 ERA and a 7.16 FIP. Also like Bailey, Stephenson shut the Pirates for most of the night on Wednesday.
The Pirates got a 2 out single from Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the 1st inning, and a lead off walk from David Freese in the bottom of the 2nd and from Gregory Polanco in the bottom of the 5th. Other than that, Stephenson kept the base paths empty through the first 5 innings.
The top of the 6th inning saw the Reds add to their lead.
Joey Votto doubled to start the inning and Scooter Gennett reached on a 1 out infield hit. Trevor Williams then walked Eugenio Suarez to load the bases and end his night.
Daniel Hudson would take over for Williams with the job of doing damage control. After getting a pop fly to shallow right field for the second out of the inning, Hudson walked number eight hitter Tucker Barnhart to bring in a run and make it 2-0 Reds. He then struck out Robert Stephenson to end the inning.
One bright spot this season has been the emergence of Trevor Williams and that continued on Wednesday night. In the 5 1/3 innings he pitched he allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and he struck out 6 Reds.
The Pirates finally broke through against Robert Stephenson in the bottom of the 6th inning.
Starling Marte singled to start the inning and advanced to second base with 1 out on a wild pitch. Then with 2 outs, Marte would score on a Josh Bell single to cut the Cincinnati lead to 2-1. On the throw to the plate, Bell advanced to second base. Bell advancing proved to be crucial as he would then score the tying run on a David Freese single.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th inning, Stephenson was lifted for Michael Lorenzen. In 5 2/3 innings pitched on Wednesday night Stephenson was charged with 1 run on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts.
The newly acquired Joaquin Benoit made his Pirate debut in the top of the 7th inning. With 1 out, Benoit would allow a solo home run to Jesse Winker. This gave the Reds a 3-2 lead entering the 7th inning stretch.
After the Pirates were retired in order in the bottom of the 7th inning, Juan Nicasio pitched the top of the 8th inning. With the help of a strikeout, Nicasio was able to work around a lead off double by Eugenio Suarez and a 2 out walk to Tucker Barnhart to keep the score at 3-2 Reds.
Raisel Iglesias pitched the bottom of the 8th for the Reds. The Pirates would threaten against Iglesias but failed to score.
With 1 out, Adam Frazier put together an excellent at bat then ended in a walk. Andrew McCutchen then snuck a single through the left side of the infield to put runners on first and second. However, Iglesias then got Josh Bell to fly out to left field and he got David Freese to bounce back to the mound to the end the inning.
Felipe Rivero pitched the top of the 9th to get some work in. After allowing a single to Billy Hamilton to start the inning, Rivero struck out Jesse Winker and Joey Votto. Rivero then allowed a 2-run home run to Adam Duvall to make it 5-2 Reds. This was just the third home run allowed by Rivero this season and was the first run of any sort he had allowed since late June. He then struck out Eugenio Suarez to end the inning.
Raisel Iglesias remained in the game for the Reds in the bottom of the 9th inning. Pinch hitter John Jaso would draw a 2 out walk, but Iglesias retired the other Pirate hitters in the inning to finish off Wednesday night’s game.
Next: Keller Promoted to Double-A
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a bad baseball team that is currently playing some very poor baseball. They are also making roster decisions, such as having Joaquin Benoit on the team over younger pitchers such as Edgar Santana or Steven Brault, that make no sense. This could be a very long final two months for Pirate fans as this team seems destined to limp to the finish line.
At 7:05 on Thursday night the Pittsburgh Pirates will try to salvage a game in this series. Chad Kuhl starts for the Pirates while the Reds will send Sal Romano to the mound. This season Romano owns a 4.57 ERA and a 5.32 FIP, so the Pirate offense will probably be held to just a run or two yet again.