Offense Falters as Pittsburgh Pirates Suffer First Series Loss of 2018

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be going undefeated in series this season

Final. 0. 4. 2. 108

It was bound to happen. At some point, the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates were going to lose a series. On Tuesday night, that happened. The Pirates were also shutout for the first time in 2018 in Tuesday’s loss.

The Colorado Rockies were 2-0 victors in the second game of this three-game series. With the loss, the Pirates suffered their first series loss of the season watching their overall record fall to 11-6.

Trevor Williams made his fourth start of the season for the Pirates in Tuesday night’s loss. Despite struggling with his control for much of the night, Williams did a great job of battling to hold a high powered Rockie offense to just a pair of runs.

In the top of the 1st inning Williams issued a 1-out walk to Gerardo Parra and then allowed a check swing bloop hit to Charlie Blackmon. On what was possibly the luckiest hit Blackmon will record all season, Parra motored to third. Parra would then score on a groundout to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead.

The best pitching of the night from Williams came in the top of the 4th inning.

With 1-out in the inning, Williams walked Carlos Gonzalez. However, Gonzalez was then caught stealing. After Ian Desmond walked, Trevor Story doubled and Ryan McMahon then singled home Desmond giving the Rockies a 2-0 lead. He then retired Tony Wolters to end the inning. Williams’ control issues peaked in the top of the 4th inning, but he did a great job of getting out of it allowing just a single run.

PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 17: Trevor Williams
PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 17: Trevor Williams /

Despite laboring through control issues for much of the night, Williams held a very good Rockie lineup to just 2 runs on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts in 6 innings pitched. Williams’ outing on Tuesday night was that of a maturing pitcher that is developing into a strong middle of the rotation starting pitcher.

The Pirate offense did not get many opportunities against Colorado starter Chad Bettis and wasted the ones they did. With 2-outs in the bottom of the 1st inning Starling Marte drew a walk, but then for some unfathomable reason Josh Bell tried to bunt and was easily retired to end the inning. Just a reminder that position players should never, ever bunt.

Williams singled to start the bottom of the 3rd inning but was thrown out when he made the boneheaded decision to attempt to advance to second base on a fly out by Sean Rodriguez. Jordy Mercer singled with 1-out in the bottom of the 5th inning, but was stranded after Williams failed to get a sacrifice bunt down, pulled back to swing and popped out, and Rodriguez grounded out. Gregory Polanco would walk to start the bottom of the 6th inning, but was erased when Bell hit into a double play.

Edgar Santana would replace Williams and continued to show why he should be used more often in high leverage situations. In 2 hitless, scoreless innings of work he showed a filthy slider and recorded a strikeout.

Leading off the bottom of the 8th inning, the Pirates got a double from Jordy Mercer that would chase Bettis from the game. With Mercer on third base and 1-out, Sean Rodriguez grounded out to third base. On the play, Mercer broke for the plate and was thrown out. It was debatable if Mercer should have broken for the plate or not, but him not getting into a run down to allow Rodirguez to get into scoring position was a big mistake.

In 7+ scoreless innings of work, Bettis allowed 5 hits, he walked a pair, and struck out 3. Bettis was on his game on Tuesday night and that is the biggest reason why the Pirates lost.

After Richard Rodriguez pitched a scoreless top of the 9th inning in his Pirate debut, Bud Black and the Rockies turned to Wade Davis in the bottom half of the inning. Davis would retire the Pirates in order to close out the Rockie victory.

At no point in Tuesday’s 2-0 loss did the Pirates have multiple runners on base.

Next: Pirate Mailbag: April 17, 2018

At 12:35 p.m. on Wednesday the Pirates and Rockies will play the third and final game of this series at PNC Park. Chad Kuhl will look to help the Pirates avoid being swept, while the Rockies will counter with lefty Kyle Freeland.