1st Inning Ump Show Highlights Pittsburgh Pirates Loss In Atlanta


While it was far from being completely their doing, the Pittsburgh Pirates were blown out to kick off their four-game series in Atlanta on Monday night

Nothing good ever happens to the Pittsburgh Pirates when they travel to the city of Atlanta. Nothing. There was the Jerry Meals game in 2011. No one needs to talk about that awful, awful October night in 1992. And now, there is whatever the hell unfolded on Monday night.

Major League Baseball has a major problem with their umpires. This was on full display in the Pirates loss against the Atlanta Braves on Monday night. Following the 13-7 loss, the Pirate slide continues as they are now 6-15 in their last 21 games and 30-35 overall.

Joe Musgrove started for the Pirates, but failed to get out of the 1st inning. The way Musgrove was pitching had nothing to do with this. Instead, it was a combination of Josh Donaldson being an ass and home plate umpire Brian Gorman deciding to hijack the game.

With two outs in the 1st inning, an Atlanta runner on third base, and the Pirates leading 1-0, Musgrove came inside with a pitch to Donaldson. As Donaldson leaned back out of the way, the pitching just clipped the button on his jersey. It did not hit Donaldson, it hit a button on his jersey.

Pittsburgh Pirates
ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 10: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Atlanta Braves is restrained after being hit by a pitch as he charges Joe Musgrove #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of an MLB game at SunTrust Park on June 10, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Despite this, Donaldson decided to bark at Musgrove as he trotted toward first base. Musgrove yelled back, Elias Diaz got between them, Donaldson shoved Diaz aside, and the benches cleared. When the dust settled, both Donaldson and Msugorve had been ejected. In turn, this led to Pirate manager Clint Hurdle getting tossed as well.

Neither Donaldson nor Musgrove should have been ejected from the game. While Donaldson’s reaction to the HBP was a little over the top, that’s who Donaldson is. Ultimately, he did nothing wrong.

Gorman had other ideas, however. He decided to turn the 1st inning into an ump show as he hijacked the game. In turn, he put the Pirates in a terrible spot.

Now managing the game, bench coach Tom Prince turned to Alex McRae to replace Musgrove. After recording the final out of the 1st inning, McRae was lit up for 5 runs including a Ronald Acuna Jr. grand slam in the bottom of the 2nd.

In the top of the 3rd inning the Pirates were able to chase struggling Atlanta starter Kevin Gausman.

Kevin Newman singled to start the inning, Bryan Reynolds reached on a Guasman error, and Starling Marte hit a 3-run home run. Marte’s 8th blast of the season cut the Atlanta lead to 5-4. After retiring Josh Bell and walking Colin Moran, Gausman was lifted for Sean Newcomb.

Atlanta quickly got one of the runs back when Ozzie Albies hit a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd inning, to make the score 6-4 Braves. McRae also allowed a two-run home run to Freddie Freeman in the 4th inning, make the score 8-4 Atlanta.

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McRae deserves a tip of the cap for the work he did on Monday night. He is only in the Majors due to the Pirate pitching staff having approximately 90 injuries. He gave the team all he could, and did his best to keep the bullpen from, getting completely blown up after the umpires hijacked the game.

While McRae allowed 8 runs, 6 of which were earned, he gave the Pirates wanted they needed most – innings. He was able to pitch 4 1/3 innings and get the team through the 5th inning. By doing this, he kept the bullpen form getting completely annihilated.

As a reward for taking one for the team, McRae will likely be optioned back to Triple-A for bullpen reinforcements on Tuesday. However, he undoubtedly gained a lot of respect with his teammates on Monday night for the work he did, and, hopefully, he did with a lot of Pirate fans, too.

Geoff Hartlieb followed McRae and pitched a pair of innings. In his 2 innings of work Hartlieb allowed 2 runs, a home run, and he struck out a pair.

Marte cut the Atlanta lead to 10-5 when he led off the 8th inning with his 9th home run of the season. Colin Moran and Melky Cabrera singled in the inning, and Elias Diaz worked a two-out walk. With two outs and the bases loaded, Corey Dickerson was summoned to pinch hit.

Dickerson grinding out a fantastic at bat. On the 9th pitch he saw from Dan Winkler, Dickerson ripped a 2-run single to center field. This hit cut the Atlanta lead to 10-7. Newman then grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Montana DuRapau was summoned from the Pirate bullpen with the job of keeping the game close. Unfortunately, he failed to do so. Powered by a 2-run home run by Nick Markakis, the Braves got the 3 runs that the Pirates scored in the top half of the inning right back. Just like that, it was 13-7 Atlanta.

The ump show that occurred in the 1st inning of Monday night’s game is unacceptable. Between decisions like this one, inconsistent strike zones, and the inability to decipher the difference between a ball and a strike, MLB umpires are doing a lot of harm to the credibility of the game. While, odds are, nothing will be done, the Commissioner’s Office holding umpires accountable for fiascoes like Monday night is a move that is long overdue.

While Musgrove getting tossed for no good reason was a major reason why the Pirates lost, their pitching needed to be better. Other than Musgrove, every pitcher who toed the rubber for the Pirates was scored upon and each allowed at least one home run. It goes without saying that this is not good enough.

Next. 3 Takeaways From Being Swept In Milwaukee. dark

The second game of this four-game set is scheduled for 7:20 on Tuesday night. Chris Archer (5.20 ERA, 5.46 FIP) will start for the Bucs and look to build upon strong outings in each of his last two starts. The Braves will counter with the struggling Mike Foltynewicz (5.89 ERA, 6.62 FIP), who Archer and the Pirates defeated at PNC Park last Thursday afternoon.