Pittsburgh Pirates Embarrassed In Series Opener In Los Angeles
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ three-game series against the Dodgers got off to a disastrous start on Monday night
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ current nine-game three-city road trip swung into Los Angeles on Monday night. At Dodgers Stadium the Pirates started the final series of this road trip. Through the first six games of the trip the Pirates owned a 4-2 record, however, there is a large difference between the playing the Mets and Padres and playing the Dodgers. And the Pirates found this out in a big way on Monday.
Monday night was one of the ugliest games the Pirates have played all season, and that is truly saying something. The offense was shut down, the pitching staff got hammered, and the team played poor defense in an embarrassing 17-1 loss. Following their loss on Monday night, the Pirates are now 1-3 against the Dodgers this season and 40-44 overall.
As we discussed on the site a few weeks ago the Pirate pitching staff has been the worst staff in the National League this season when it comes to fielding their position. In the bottom of the 1st inning these issues would continue in a big way for the Pirates.
With one out in the inning Max Muncy hit a ground ball that Josh Harrison ranged far to his left to field before firing a bullet to first base. At first base Pirate starter Nick Kingham dropped the ball for an E1 that should have been the second out of the inning.
With two outs, Kingham’s woes continued. First, he was called for a balk that allowed Muncy to advance to third base. Cody Bellinger then hit a weak dribbler out in front of home plate. Kingham hesitated before fielding the ball and failed to make a throw to first base in time to retire Bellinger.
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On top of Bellinger being safe, Muncy scored from third base. Had Kingham not been called for a balk earlier in the inning, Muncy would have still been on second base and therefore not scored on this play.
Following a Matt Kemp single that put runners on the corners, Kingham would commit his second error of the inning. This time it came when he dropped a ball being thrown back to him in between pitches. Bellinger alertly raced home on the play to make the score 2-0 Dodgers.
Leading off the top of the 2nd inning Elias Diaz launched a solo home run to center field. Diaz’s 410-foot blast was his 7th of the season and cut the Dodger lead to 2-1.
This is where the positivity started and ended for the Pirates.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning Kingham’s struggles continued when Bellinger launched a one-out solo home run to extend the Dodger lead to 3-1. A Kemp double and a pair of walks would load the bases for Yasiel Puig. Puig would hit into a fielder’s choice – making the score 4-1 Dodgers – before Alex Wood popped out to end the inning.
Kingham continued to limp along as Joc Pederson hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the 4th inning. Pederson’s blast was followed by one from Muncy and the Dodger lead grew to 6-1. Justin Turner would then rip a double down the right field line to mercifully bring Kingham’s night to an end.
On Monday night Kingham’s return to the Major Leagues went disastrously. He struggled with control, left far too many pitches over the heart of the plate, and looked completely rattled on the mound. In 3+ innings pitched Kingham allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits, three walks, he surrendered three home runs, and he struck out just two.
When Kingham was lifted from the game Jacob Stallings entered the game to catch as part of a double switch. The other half of the switch was right-handed reliever Tanner Anderson making his Major League debut.
Unfortunately, things would not go well for Anderson. He would allow four more hits before finally getting the third out of the bottom of the 4th inning. By the time he finally ended the inning, the Pirates were trailing 10-1.
In the bottom of the 5th inning Anderson continued to throw the Dodgers batting practice and got knocked around allowing three more runs. When Anderson’s night ended he had pitched the first 2 innings of his MLB career, however, he had also allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks.
After Anderson’s night ended it was Steven Brault‘s turn to be the Dodgers’ punching bag.
Muncy walked to start the inning and Logan Forsythe reached on a weakly hit groundball single that off the bat looked like a double play. Two batters later, Kemp launched a three-run home run off of Brault. Kemp’s fifth hit of the night made the score 16-1 Dodgers.
After Brault allowed three more hits, the Dodgers led 17-1 after 6 innings of play.
After Brault pitched the Pirates’ first 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 7th inning, Edgar Santana pitched one of his own in the bottom of the 8th.
Due to the number of pitches they threw, neither Anderson nor Brault will be available on Tuesday night. Hell, odds are, neither would be available on Wednesday either. Due to this, look for a roster move to reinforce the bullpen before the start of Wednesday game. My guess is that Anderson will be optioned to Triple-A for Dovydas Neverauskas.
There is only one word that can describe Monday night’s game from the Pirates’ perspective – embarrassing. The team did absolutely nothing right on Monday, while the Dodgers played a great game and showed how large of a gap there currently is between the Pirates and the top tier teams in the National League.
Regardless of the difference in talent between two teams a Major Leauge Baseball game should never end 17-1.
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The second game of the three-game set is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. on Tuesday night. Things will not get any easier for the Pirates as they will face Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw, while they counter with Ivan Nova.