The Pittsburgh Pirates continue their post-break collapse
After defeating the Washington Nationals by a score of 11-1 on Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates were blown out by the Nats on Wednesday night. With the loss, the team is now a miserable 8-29 since the All-Star Break.
This loss drops the team’s overall record on the season to 52-74. Even though the team has collapsed to 22 games under .500, as well as being on pace for the worst second half in baseball history, the Pirates continue to hold no one accountable. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Joe Musgrove started for the Pirates and cruised though his first 2 innings. Musgrove allowed just a bunt single on 22 pitches through 2 scoreless innings of work. Then in the 3rd inning, the wheels came off for the Pirate righty.
In the 3rd inning Musgrove allowed three hits and committed a throwing error that allowed another runner to reach base. He walked a pair of batters, and allowed a 3-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. When the dust settled, the Pirates were trailing 6-0.
Outside of the 3rd inning Musgrove pitched a strong game. However, that 3rd inning was a complete train wreck. In 5 innings of work Musgrove allowed 6 runs – 5 earned – on seven hits, two walks, a home run, and a strikeout.
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In his return to the MLB level Dario Agrazal replaced Musgrove, making his first career relief outing. Agrazal fired 2 scoreless innings of relief in his first career appearance out of the bullpen. He retired all six batters he faced and recorded a strikeout.
Surprisingly, Agrazal was lifted after 2 innings of work. With the Pirate bullpen needing relief, it would have made since to allow Agrazal to pitch at least another inning if not the rest of the game. Instead, Parker Markel, who was also recalled on Wednesday, was summoned from the ‘pen and things did not go well.
Markel faced eight batters and only retired two of them. He allowed three hits, walked three batters, did not record a strikeout, and was tagged for 3 runs. Francisco Liriano replaced Markel, and recorded the final out of the 8th inning.
Liriano came back out for the 9th inning and struggled. In 1 inning of work he allowed 2 runs on a hit, two walks, a home run, and a strikeout. Jose Osuna would make another pitching appearance to get the final out of the 9th.
The Pirates would get on the board in the bottom of the 9th inning. Bryan Reynolds singled to start the inning and scored on a one-out double by Josh Bell. The 37th double of the season from Bell got the Pirates on the board, cutting the Nats lead to 11-1.
Wednesday’s loss was the latest in a long line of losses for the Pirates since the All-Star Break. On top of their recent losses, the team has scored 1 run or less four of their last five games. Watching this bunch is not easy right now.
The fourth and final game of the series is scheduled for 7:05 on Thursday night. Steven Brault (4.06 ERA, 4.37 FIP) will make the start for the Pirates. As of this writing the Nationals have yet to announce a starting pitcher.