Pittsburgh Pirates Blown Out Again By The Reds As Poor Stretch Continues


For the first time since May 3rd, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves with a sub-.500 record.

The ability of the Pittsburgh Pirates to play strong baseball early this season has been remarkable. Despite 22 different players hitting the injured list by Memorial Day, the team has hung around and remained at or above .500 for most of the season. Unfortunately, the injuries may finally be catching up to the Bucs.

Following a 11-6 loss against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, the Pirates are now 26-27 this season. This puts the team below .500 for the first time since they lost to the Oakland A’s on May 3rd. Worst of all, another injury occurred in Tuesday night’s loss.

Jordan Lyles has been the team’s best, most consistent starting pitcher this season. On Tuesday night, he lasted just 4 innings and allowed 3 runs. However, a big reason for this was injury.

In the bottom of the 4th inning, Lyles tweaked his hamstring. Also in this inning, new public enemy #1 in Pittsburgh – Derek Dietrich – hit his first of three home runs. After Lyles finished the inning, he was lifted due to hamstring discomfort.

Hopefully, the Pirates and Lyles caught this injury early enough that it will not become a long term issue. With Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams on the IL and Chris Archer pitching poorly this pitching staff is already in shambles, and this goes without mentioning the injuries to the bullpen. If Lyles does land on the IL, which would be his second IL stint of the season, this starting rotation could quickly become one of the poorest in the National League until guys get healthy.

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Geoff Hartlieb replaced Lyles and got shelled. In 2 1/3 innings pitched he allowed 7 runs on seven hits, a walk, and two more home runs to Dietrich. Hartlieb would then be lifted for ex-Red Rookie Davis. In 1 2/3 innings of work Davis struck out three and allowed a solo home run to Jose Peraza.

When Hartlieb was promoted to the MLB level there were high hopes for Hartlieb. In the minors he flashed plus stuff and the ability to miss bats. Unfortunately, his stint with the Pirates has been a disaster. He has allowed 13 hits, 10 earned runs, and a trio of long balls in 13 innings of work. Odds are, when Keone Kela comes off the IL, which could be as soon as tomorrow, Hartlieb will be the odd man out.

Lucas Sims made his 2019 debut for the Reds of Tuesday night. Making his 11th career MLB start, Sims entered the game owning a 6.01 ERA and a 5.37 FIP in 71 1/3 career innings pitched. At the Triple-A level this season, Sims owned a 4.06 ERA.

While Sims is far form a world beater, he looked like for the first 7 innings. Sims entered the 8th inning having fired 7 innings of three hit shutout ball. However, the Pirate offense finally broke through in the 8th inning.

With the bases loaded and just one out, Kevin Newman stepped to the plate against Sims. Newman would launched a ball over the right-center field wall for both his first career home run and first career grand slam. This cut the Cincinnati lead to 10-4.

After struggling during his first taste of MLB action last season, Newman is playing like the former 1st round pick that he is. The 19th overall pick in the 2015 draft is now slashing .333/.400/.486 with a .377 wOBA and a 137 wRC+.

With the Pirates struggling to find offense from third base, shortstop, and second base, there is zero reason for Newman to not be playing every day right now. Not having him out there every day would be nothing short of foolish on the part of manager Clint Hurdle.

Things are a mess for the Pittsburgh Pirates right now. Following a 7-4 three-city road trip, the Pirates returned home this past Monday to enjoy an off day owning a 24-20 record. Since then, the team is just 2-7. Combine this with all of the injuries to the pitching staff and the tough upcoming schedule, and there may not be a light at the end of the tunnel in the immediate future.

It’s time for this team to battle. It’s time for Hurdle and his staff to earn their pay. Because if this team is going to stay afloat these next few weeks, it is going to take one hell of an effort from everyone involved.

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The fourth and final game of this series is scheduled for 12:35 on Thursday afternoon. Looking for a series split, the Pirates will turn to lefty Steven Brault (7.11 ERA, 6.15 FIP). David Bell and the Reds will turn to Anthony DeSclafani (4.99 ERA, 5.62 FIP) as they look for their first series victory of the season against the Pirates.