Pittsburgh Pirates: Grading the Series Loss at Wrigley Field

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 02: Right, Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates speaks with teammates on the mound during the fifth inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 02, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 02: Right, Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates speaks with teammates on the mound during the fifth inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 02, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 28: Miguel Del Pozo #63 0f the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on July 28, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 28: Miguel Del Pozo #63 0f the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on July 28, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Bullpen

It was much of the same for the Pirate bullpen against the Cubs. Outside of a few relievers, the bullpen was a disaster.

Friday night, Nik Turley, Dovydas Neverauskas and Miguel Del Pozo combined to allow 3 runs on four hits, two walks, a strikeout, and they failed to strand inherited runners. Geoff Hartlieb, however, continued his strong start to the season by pitching 1.1 scoreless innings.

After Keller exited Saturday night’s game, Chris Stratton pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of work JT Brubaker pitched 3 scoreless inning. Stratton and Brubaker have now combined to allow just 2 runs in 8.2 innings of work this season, and both of those runs were runners Stratton put on base but Del Pozo failed to strand in the Milwaukee series.

Then in the 9th inning, Michael Feliz issued a walk, allowed a home run and surrendered another hit before exiting with injury. Feliz, somehow, now owns a 32.40 ERA and a 13.89 FIP This season.

For as much as the bullpen struggled on Friday and Saturday, it was excellent on Sunday. Geoff Hartlieb inherited a runner with just one out in the 5th inning and got the final two outs to strand him. Neverauskas, Turley and Richard Rodriguez all pitched a scoreless inning. In his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sam Howard pitched a scoreless 9th and 10th inning, this included escaping a runners on the corners with no one out jam in the 10th.

Making his MLB debut, Cody Ponce only got one out in the 11th inning before allowing a walk off single to Javier Baez. However, Anthony Rizzo should have been intentionally walked to start the inning. Had this been done, Baez’s ball may have ended up a 6-4-3 double play.

The Verdict

The bullpen was bad on Friday and Saturday night. They were then excellent on Sunday afternoon. However, two bad games outweighs one excellent one.

Grade: C-

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