The Pittsburgh Pirates take three out of four against the Giants with a 4-2 victory Thursday afternoon. Some of the Bucs young players continued to shine.
The Pittsburgh Pirates played a day game, as seems to be the new normal on Thursday afternoons in the MLB. The game was held in San Francisco against the San Francisco Giants – the fourth and final game in the series. The Bucs sent Joe Musgrove (4.67 ERA; 9-12 record) to the mound against the Giant’s Jeff Samardzija (3.64 ERA; 10-11 record). With the Pirates (64-82) officially eliminated from any playoff birth and locked in with a losing record (Yes Neal, this is the case for all 10,000 simulations), the focus for the team should be on 2020 and the players that will be on that team.
Those young players for the Bucs stepped up early and struck in the first inning. Bryan Reynolds laced a line drive single up the middle and would then advance to third on a hit and run from a Josh Bell single. Jose Osuna then took the plate and casually plated Reynolds with a double. The Giants tried to respond to the Pirates early lead with Brandon Belt belting a two out triple, but Musgrove got Evan Longoria to strike out on a beautiful slider.
The game would quite down for the next couple of innings with the Pirates adding solo runs in both the 4th and the 5th. The run in the 5th inning came off of a lead-off stand-up triple for Joe Musgrove followed by an Adam Frazier triple. The run in the 4th came off of a Kevin Kramer sacrifice fly.
Musgrove not only contributed at the plate, but on the mound as well. Pitching one of the best 5 innings of any starter for the Bucs this year, Musgrove did not walk a batter, threw 50 of 72 pitches for strikes, struck out seven, and five of the last nine. Joe was clearly pulled for non-performance reasons, most likely either a team enforced pitch count limit or injury-precaution.
Following Musgrove’s exit, the Giants went to work quickly and Evan Longoria blasted a two-run home run off of Yacksel Rios. Samardzija pitched into the 7th inning for the Giants, but exited the inning after Jacob Stallings deposited a pitch in the bleachers for a home run, putting the Pirates up 4-2.
No other runs came across the plate as the evening hours approached. Keone Kela and Richard Rodriquez each pitched a scoreless inning for the Pirates. Interestingly, Felipe Vazquez would induce the most anxiety for the Pirates as he attempted to collect his third save of the series. With no outs, Vazquez would allow runners to reach first and third. However, the all-star would strike out the next two batters and got Buster Posey to ground out to end the game.
That is how the game would end with the Pirates winning by a score of 4-2. The game was a rather clean game for the Pirates’ as they did not commit any fielding errors, and had a solo base running error committed by Frazier in the 5th.
Once again, the Pirates showed that they do have a core set of young players, especially on offense, that can compete in 2020. While it is fun to watch some of these young Bucs hit and win games, it is still extremely obvious that this team is missing some large pieces exiting 2019. Whether or not ownership and management will support that young core by signing front of the rotation pitchers is a question we will only be able to answer in the off season.