Pittsburgh Pirates: Bats Go Silent as the Tigers Sweep at PNC Park

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 09: Niko Goodrum #28 of the Detroit Tigers turns a double play in the third inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 9, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 09: Niko Goodrum #28 of the Detroit Tigers turns a double play in the third inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 9, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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4. Final. 2. 63. 1

After two straight games filled with plenty of runs, the series finale between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers was all about the guys on the bump. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to fall on hard times as they were swept by the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park over the weekend. Pittsburgh lost by a final score of 2-1 on Sunday afternoon and they are now 3-13 on the season.

With the loss, the 2020 Pittsburgh Pirates now tie the 1958 club for the worst start through 16 games in franchise history. As ugly as it may be, let’s get into it!

Breaking Down the Bump

The Pirate pitching plans were thrown for a loop on Sunday when Joe Musgrove was scratched due to an ankle issue. Due to this, Steven Brault started on the mound for the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, just two days after severely struggling in his piggyback outing in the first game of the series. Brault was able to bounce back nicely in his two innings of work. He looked confident and was able to work through those two innings without allowing a hit.

Chris Stratton would take the ball to start the 3rd inning. Six of his nine outs were recorded via the strikeout as he moved through 3 innings while only allowing one run. Stratton continues to  shine in each and every appearance so far this season.

Geoff Hartlieb and Nik Turley each threw scoreless frames in relief on Sunday afternoon. Neither pitcher allowed a hit in their outings, either.

Richard Rodriguez was called upon in the eighth inning with the game tied at 1. After recording two quick outs, Rodriguez hit Jonathan Schoop before having a massive blunder. Rodriguez went to deliver a pitch to Miguel Cabrera, but his cleat appeared to get stuck in the ground as he finished his release. The ball was launched about 10 or 20 feet to the right of Cabrera and it allowed Schoop to advance to second base.

That blunder would prove to be costly as Cabrera grounded a ball into left field to score Schoop. The hit from Miggy gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead in the top half of the eighth. If you take away that mishap from Rich Rod, Schoop would’ve only been able to advance to second base and the Pirates would have had another chance to work out of the inning.

Stay Hot, E Gonz! 

Erik Gonzalez continues to be one of the lone bright spots in the Pirates lineup. Who would’ve thought that would be the case after his shortened 2019 campaign? However, the analytics say that it was only a matter of time before he would break out.

Gonzalez went 2-for-4 on Sunday afternoon and drove in the only run of the game for Pittsburgh. His RBI-single gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the 4th inning.

With his hot bat and extremely reliable defense, there is no reason why Gonzalez shouldn’t be in the lineup moving forward.

Next. The Evolution of Chris Stratton. dark

What’s Next?

Who knows! The Pirates were set to d0 battle in St. Louis against the Cardinals in a series starting on Monday night. However, after the Cardinals had the coronavirus spread through their ball club, the series opener has been postponed. The whole series will also more than likely be scrapped for a later date.

A few days off could benefit this injury-plagued Pirates roster. The bullpen has been extremely taxed over the last few days and they simply do not have enough arms to give anyone a break. A mental reset for both the offense and pitching staff appears to be much needed.

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