Recent Bad Habits Continue as Pittsburgh Pirates Lose Fourth Consecutive Game

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 22: Jameson Taillon #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after giving up two runs in the first inning against at the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 22: Jameson Taillon #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after giving up two runs in the first inning against at the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

With recent bad habits continuing, the Pittsburgh Pirates have now lost four consecutive games

61. Final. 2. 4. 7

The past few games bad habits have been developing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team has been leaving too many men on base and playing poor defense. These are the two reasons why the Bucs entered Tuesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds as losers of three games in a row.

On Tuesday night, these bad habits continued for the Pirates. This led to the team losing the first game of their three-game series against the Reds. Tuesday night’s loss was the fourth in a row for the Pirates and dropped the team to 26-21 this season.

Facing Matt Harvey in his first home start for the Reds, the Pirates looked primed to bust the game open early.

After a Gregory Polanco single and consecutive walks by Francisco Cervelli and Josh Bell, the team had the bases loaded with just one out. However, this is where things started to go wrong. Corey Dickerson swung at the first pitch he saw and popped out to shallow center field. If a batter is going to swing at the first pitch after consecutive walks, it better be right down the middle which this pitch was not.

Harvey then struck out Colin Moran to end the inning. This strikeout allowed Harvey to strand the bases loaded, and, while it was just the 1st inning, it would prove to be a huge turning point in the game.

Jameson Taillon started for the Pirates on Tuesday night and was quickly burnt by bad defense. With two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, Scooter Gennett hit a fly ball to right field that should have been at most a single if not an out. However, Polanco completely misplayed the ball leading to a run-scoring double. A double by Eugenio Suarez would then make the score 2-0 Reds.

Taillon should have pitched a scoreless bottom of the 1st inning. Due to more poor defense from Polanco, the Reds were able to score a pair of runs. Making matters worse was the Pirates failing to capitalize on having the bases loaded with just one out in the top half of the inning.

In the top of the 4th inning Moran would take an 0-2 fastball at eye level from Harvey and tomahawk it into the right field seats. His 4th home run of the season cut the Cincinnati lead to 2-1.

The top of the 5th inning saw the Reds would bust the game open.

With 1-out, Tucker Barnhart doubled down the right field line on ball that a diving Josh Bell probably should have gotten a glove on to put runners on second and third. After Taillon intentionally walked Joey Votto, Gennett launched a grand slam to right field. Gennett’s 6th career grand slam gave the Reds a 6-1 lead after 5 innings of play.

The Gennett grand slam featured a bad pitch selection by Taillon and the Pirates. Taillon threw a first pitch change up despite his change up not being the best of pitches. Taillonthrew four change ups in the game the results were as follows: a ball, a single with a 98.3 MPH exit velocity, an out with a 94.6 MPH exit velocity, and Gennett’s grand slam which had a 103 MPH exit velocity. A change up was not the pitch to throw in that situation.

Since the start of the 2016 season Matt Harvey’s ERA, FIP, home run rate, and hard contact allowed rate are all in the bottom five in the National League. Despite all of this, he cruised through 6 innings on Tuesday night. He allowed just the Moran solo home run, a pair of singles, he walked a pair, and struck out 5.

As for Taillon, he allowed 6 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings pitched on Tuesday night. It was a mixed bag for Taillon as the first 2 runs he allowed came from bad defense and he struck out 8, but he also got hit hard throughout the night including his 5th inning meltdown. He now owns a 4.56 ERA and 4.14 FIP this season as his disappointing season continues.

Facing a tough lefty in Amir Garrett, Austin Meadows hit his 2nd career home run in the top of the 7th inning. This home run by Meadows cut the Cincinnati lead to 6-2.

Following the Meadows home run, the Pirates had a chance to get back into the game. Garrett would issue back-to-back walks to Jordy Mercer and pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez.

After the Rodriguez walk, Garrett was lifted for David Hernandez. Josh Harrison would single off of Hernandez which loaded the bases.

To the plate stepped Polanco who has epitomized the team’s recent issues with stranding runners. With a great opportunity to make up for recent failures, both offensively and defensively, Polanco would fail to do so. Instead, he popped out to second base trigger the infield fly rule. This left Polanco hitless with runners in scoring position since May 8th.

Hernandez then got Cervelli to ground out to end the inning.

George Kontos took over for the Pirates in the bottom of the 7th inning and continued to show why he has no business being on a Major League roster. After hitting Jose Peraza with a pitch and allowing a hit to Barnhart, Kontos gave up a sacrifice fly to Gennett. This ran the Cincinnati lead to 7-2.

Tyler Glasnow pitched the bottom of the 8th inning for the Pirates and continued to excel out of the bullpen. After a 1-2-3 inning that included a pair of strikeouts, Glasnow now owns a 3.08 FIP and 33 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings pitched this season.

While this is the third time this season the Pirates have lost four consecutive games, this losing streak is different than the first two. The first two four game losing streaks came when the Bucs were swept in road series against the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals – two good teams. This recent slide, however, has come against two of the National League’s worst teams – the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds.

Next: A Trio of Pirate Minor League Starters Ptich Well

Game two of this series is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. om Wednesday night. A pair of struggling pitchers will take the hill as the Bucs will send Chad Kuhl (4.53 ERA, 4.82 FIP) to the mound while Jim Riggleman and the Red Legs will give the ball to veteran Homer Bailey (6.11 ERA, 6.05 FIP).