Saturday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates were blown out by the St. Louis Cardinals 9-1, giving them two losses in as many games played this season.
Game two of this three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals has come and gone, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking to even up the series prior to Sunday’s matchup. We saw Pirate pitcher Trevor Williams take the bump against the old-timer Adam Wainwright.
Williams had an odd day today. He seemed to be cruising through the first 3 innings despite a little bit of trouble. In the 1st inning, we saw long time Pittsburgh Pirates killer Paul Goldschmidt hit a gopher ball against Williams, but it didn’t seem to phase him. In the 3rd inning, we saw a bit of trouble with a couple of runners in scoring position but to no avail for the Red Birds.
The 4th inning is where we saw major trouble. In that inning, we saw four hits by the Cardinals, all of which weren’t hit all that hard. Despite that, singles by Dexter Fowler and Tyler O’Neill made this game 3-1. Williams day was cut short pitching just 3.2 innings, three earned runs, five hits, three strikeouts, one walk, on 67 pitches.
A bit concerning from our second starter, and I hope he can avoid those 20 pitch innings as we get later in the season.
The Bullpen Good, Bad and Ugly
Let’s start with the good. Chris Stratton came on in the 4th inning and only needed one pitch to get out of the inning. He then came on in the 5th and dominated. His line read 1.1 innings pitched, no hits, no walks, and one strikeout. I look at him as the long-term reliever, and with the pitching staff being into question, I’m not mad at him if he’s consistent.
The other good outing came from Nik Turley, the lefty. Turley had not seen a MLB field since 2017 with the Minnesota Twins. He looked extremely locked in pitching a very clean sixth inning. His line read 1.0 innings pitched, no hits, no walks, no strikeouts.
One thing I will say about Turley is he damn sure wasn’t afraid to challenge up in the zone with his fastball. We saw a consistent 94-95 MPH on the upper corners. If I could change one thing, I would like to see him execute that curveball a bit lower. There were times his curve would hang up in the zone.
Now it’s time for the extremely ugly, unfortunately, and if you don’t know by now, his name is Kyle Crick. He looks like a shell of what he was in 2018. Not only is his fastball dead, but he also can’t locate anything. We saw him mishandle two gimmies in the infiled prolonging the inning. As a result of those bugaboos, he got lit up. He pitched just 2/3 of an inning allowing four runs, two hits, two strikeouts, and one walk.
Lord God almighty pray for this bullpen if Crick is on the backend of this team.
Robbie Erlin did come on to fill in for Crick, and he gave up a double closing the book on Crick. In the 8th, Erlin looked awful as well. He gave up three hits altogether, two earned runs, one strikeout, in 1.1 innings pitched.
I will say there was some sub-par defense today, but that doesn’t excuse some of these mistakes one bit.
Lack of Offense
It was no secret these Buccos were going to struggle to score substantial runs, but when you have the bases loaded with no outs, you have to score more than one run. Thanks to John Ryan Murphy drawing a walk, the Pittsburgh Pirates avoided the shutout at least. Other than hits from Josh Bell, Colin Moran and Murphy, the offense looked dead.
Wainwright dominated the lineup after looking shaky in the second inning. He pounded the inside edge to lefties forcing soft contact to the pull side. Even though this lackluster offense is to be expected, it doesn’t make it any less bitter to watch.
Glass Half Full or Empty?
I’m not sure if you look at the glass half empty or half full, but if you’re like me, you’re feeling OK. In a blowout of 9-1, it’s hard to find the silver linings, but we did see some with Stratton and Turley’s performances.
The Pittsburgh Pirates look to salvage this series tomorrow, where we will see Mitch Keller try to get to a good start. Keller will be opposed by Cardinal righty Dakota Hudson.