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 23: Trevor Williams /

Starting Pitching

The past month has not been kind to Jameson Taillon, and this week was no exception. In two starts, Taillon allowed nine earned runs over ten innings of work for a horrendous 8.10 earned run average. Some of Taillon’s more advanced numbers suggest that he has been unlucky, but one can’t deny that he has not been the same pitcher ever since that nine-run clunker in San Francisco. Jamo has a bright future, but this past month has been one to forget.

Trevor Williams followed up his worst start of the season with perhaps his best. After getting shelled by St. Louis last Friday night, Williams bounced back in a big way the following Wednesday. Having to go against Rich Hill’s historically dominant outing, Williams held his own, tossing eight innings of shutout ball. Williams’ ERA for this home stand still came out pretty crappy at 6.55, but Wednesday’s performance certainly is encouraging as this young pitcher continues to grow.

Ivan Nova was solid for the second straight outing. Pitching on a national stage, Nova did well, as a two-run blast from Jedd Gyorko was the only major blemish in his 5.2 innings of work. Nova allowed another run in the sixth inning, but the bullpen picked him up, and the Bucs held on.

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Gerrit Cole got a raw deal Monday night. In his lone start of the home stand, he shut out baseball’s best team for six innings. After Cole had allowed a run in the seventh and was clearly out of gas at over 100 pitches, Clint Hurdle inexplicably stuck with him, and it cost the Pirates. Cole allowed a grand slam to Curtis Granderson, giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead, and screwing up what should have been a solid stat line. Cole has not lived up to expectations this season and deserves criticism for that. But what happened Monday night was not on Hurdle, not Cole.

Like Williams, Chad Kuhl had an up-and-down week. Overcoming a rain delay Saturday evening, Kuhl pitched well, allowing one run over five innings of work. Thursday afternoon was a different story. Although Kuhl’s stat line doesn’t look horrible- he only allowed two runs, he was not efficient. Kuhl only lasted four innings, walking five while striking out just two, and did not have his best stuff.

Over his short career, Kuhl has shown flashes of being a good starting pitcher. But someone of his attributes, in my opinion, would fit perfectly as a late-inning reliever. Kuhl has electric stuff but has problems with consistently putting it together, similar to what Juan Nicasio had to deal with as a starting pitcher in 2016. Nicasio has found a home in the bullpen as the Pirates set-up man. While Kuhl can be a decent starting pitcher, he can be a dominant reliever, and if the Pirates are smart, that is how they will use him in 2018 and, hopefully, beyond.

Overall, the Pirates got four shaky outings and four good ones. The rotation had an inconsistent week. They weren’t terrible, but aside from Trevor Williams, they didn’t give fans anything to get excited about, either. Kind of like the 2017 season, eh?

Grade: C