Pittsburgh Pirates Blown Out By Colorado Rockies For Second Consecutive Night

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 07: Manager Clint Hurdle #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks back to the dugout during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park on May 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 07: Manager Clint Hurdle #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks back to the dugout during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park on May 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

For the second time in as many nights the Pittsburgh Pirates were blown out at home by the Colorado Rockies.

It’s no secret that one of the biggest stories of the first two months of the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates season has been injuries. One of the areas that has been hit hardest by the injuries is the starting rotation. 20 different Pirate players have spent time on the injured list this season, and this includes four starting pitchers.

The only Pirate starter that has not hit the IL this season is Joe Musgrove. At the moment, both Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams, the team’s two best starting pitchers, find themselves on the IL. Despite the injuries, the team has not added a starting pitcher to the roster at any point this season.

As a result, the team has turned to using the opener. On Wednesday night, they used the opener for the second time in four. Just as they did the first time, Montana DuRapau started the game for the Pirates. Unfortunately, unlike his first start, things did not go well for DuRapau or the Pirates. DuRapau was unable to get out of the 1st inning, as the Pirates fell to the Colorado Rockies 9-3 to fall to 24-22 on the season.

The opener is a great concept for a team that only has four starting pitchers. However, using the opener will often times burn up your bullpen. Things get even worse when your designated opener fails to get out of the 1st inning. This is what happened to the Pirates in Wednesday night’s loss.

In the top of the 1st inning it appeared DuRapau was going to escape a jam to post a zero. With two men on and one out, he got perennial MVP candidate Nolan Arenado to pop out. He then allowed a 3-run home run to Daniel Murphy to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead. After allowing a single, DuRapau was pulled for Nick Kingham.

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This was the first poor outing out DuRapau’s MLB career. Despite getting roughed up, DuRapau’s MLB career is still off to a strong start. In 7 1/3 innings pitched, Murphy’s home run is the lone extra base hit he has allowed, he has walked a pair, and he’s struck out 10.

When Kingham took over for DuRapau, things would not go well. The 2019 season has not been kind to Kingham and that continued in this loss.

In 4 innings pitched, Kingham allowed a 3-run home run to the light hitting Tony Wolters, he was tagged for 6 earned runs on nine base hits, four batters were walked, and he struck out just three. On the season Kingham now owns a 8.76 ERA, 5.03 FIP, 1.46 HR/9, and he owns an 11.8% walk rate.

At this point there is no reason for Kingham to still be on the Pirates roster. The former top prospect has not panned out and he contributes nothing to a MLB roster. Kingham has been scored on in six of his 11 outings this season, and he’s allowed more than 1 run in each of these outings.

Kingham’s stuff simply is not good enough to retire MLB hitters. His control is not good, either. It is time for the Pirates to finally add a starting pitcher to their roster, and it needs to come at the expense of Kingham.

One positive to come out of the game was Josh Bell‘s continued destruction of baseballs.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning Bell launched a lead off home run into the Allegheny River. Bell’s home run left his bat at 116.1 MPH, which is the 9th hardest hit ball in the Majors this season. The 15th home run of the season by Bell was the 5th in PNC Park history to reach the river on the fly, and the second by Bell this month.

Furthermore, Bell has now hit 4 home runs into the Allegheny River in his MLB career. This ties Garret Jones and Pedro Alvarez for the most in PNC Park history. Despite the Pirates loss, Bell continues to do special things.

When Kingham’s night ended Clay Holmes replaced him on the mound. Holmes did an excellent job of saving the Pirate bullpen by pitching 3 1/3 innings. He allowed three hits, no runs, he walked one, and he struck out four. Michael Feliz followed with a scoreless 9th inning that included a pair of strikeouts.

Tomorrow afternoon’s series finale against the Rockies is an important one for the Pirates. Following a great 7-4 road trip, the Pirates run the risk of throwing all the good they accomplished on the West Coast away with a poor homestand. With the always tough Los Angeles Dodgers looming this weekend, you want to secure at least one win against the Rockies.

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The third and final game of the series is scheduled for 12:35 on Thursday afternoon. Ex-Rockie Jordan Lyles (1.97 ERA, 3.22 FIP) will look to continue his hot start to the season as he takes the ball for the Pirates. Bud Black and the Rockies will counter with righty Antonio Senzatela (4.89 ERA, 5.39 FIP) who has struggled in seven starts this season.

This season the Pirates are 7-1 when Lyles starts. Hopefully, this trend will continue on Thursday afternoon. The Bucs will also need innings out of Lyles as the bullpen has had to cover 13 innings the past two games.