Pittsburgh Pirates home stand report card for 8/17-8/24

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 01: Jameson Taillon
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 01: Jameson Taillon /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 21: Gerrit Cole /

This past week’s home stand was not a good one for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Another home stand is in the books. This week, the Pirates hosted the St. Louis Cardinals for four games and the white hot LA Dodgers for four more, going 3-5 in that stretch.

The home stand started last Thursday. The frustration of that night would be a sign of things to come for the rest of the stretch. After taking a 5-1 lead into the fourth inning, Pirates starter Jameson Taillon fell apart. Jamo allowed three runs over the next two frames to cut the lead to 5-4. After a lengthy rain delay, the Pirates bullpen lost it, giving up seven more tallies. A late mini-rally was not enough, and the Bucs fell, 11-7.

The next night saw more excitement, but the same result. Trailing 11-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the Pirates scored seven times over their final two at bats and were one hit away from completing a historic comeback. It was not to be, however, as Ellias Diaz struck out with the bases loaded to end the game, and the Bucs fell 11-10.

Pittsburgh snapped its six-game losing streak in the penultimate game of the series. Home runs by Adam Frazier, Starling Marte and Jose Osuna propelled another encouraging performance from the offense. Although the bullpen again made things interesting, the Pirates held on for a refreshing 6-4 win.

Saturday’s positive vibes carried over into Williamsport. The Bucs won the first ever Little League Classic, 6-3, capping off a unique event by salvaging a series split.

Monday’s series opener looked promising. Six stellar innings from Gerrit Cole, along with home runs by Osuna, Sean Rodriguez, and Josh Harrison had the Pirates in the driver’s seat, as they took a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning. The wheels fell off from there. Manager Clint Hurdle stuck with Cole too long, and he allowed five runs in the seventh to give LA the lead. The Bucs pushed the contest to extras, but a 12th inning jack by Yasiel Puig proved to be the difference in a heart breaking 6-5 loss.

As became a pattern on this home stand, the Pirates offense showed up Tuesday night, while the pitching did not. Five runs were not enough, as another poor start from Taillon and another poor performance from the bullpen were too much for the Bucs to handle, and they fell, 8-5.

If you’re a baseball fan and are unaware of the events of Wednesday’s game, you’ve been living under a rock.

As expected, the series finale was anti-climatic. Chad Kuhl was off his game, while Angel Sanchez entered the big leagues with a bang. In his first inning as a major leaguer, Sanchez allowed back to back jacks. Welcome to the show, Mr. Sanchez.

As usual, there were a few good things and plenty of bad things that took place this past week. Here is a breakdown of how the Pirates performed in the key areas of the game, using a “report card” format.