Pittsburgh Pirates Shut Out as They Get Swept by the Indians

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 20: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is safe at second base on a throwing error to Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at PNC Park on August 20, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 20: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is safe at second base on a throwing error to Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at PNC Park on August 20, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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5. 0. 4. Final. 2

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians played the final game of their three-game series at PNC Park on Thursday night

Folks, the Pittsburgh Pirates may never win a series again. Ok, at some point they will. But hoo boy are the series losses ever starting to stack up at this point.

Following a 2-0 loss on Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 4-17 on the season. After being swept by the Indians, they are now 0-6 in completed series played this season.

A Strong, But Short, Start

Trevor Williams started for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night. While he only lasted 4 innings, they were 4 extremely effective ones.

Williams allowed just a 1 run on six hits, two walks and five strikeouts in his 4 innings of work. This included working out of a bases loaded with one out jam in the 4th inning. However, due to his pitch count, Williams would last just 4 innings.

While the start was shorter than the Pirates would have liked, it was still another step toward continuing to bounce back this season from Williams. Through his first five starts this season, Williams now owns a 3.70 ERA and a 4.21 FIP. It is looking more and more as if the post-IL stint struggles of Williams in 2019 will prove to be an anomaly.

Wasted Opportunities

Offense continues to be a major issue for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thursday night the Bucs faced Shane Bieber, who has become one of the best starting pitchers in MLB, which was a reason they were shut out. That said, the team had opportunities to strike.

No opportunity was better than when back-to-back singles by Kevin Newman and Josh Bell put runners on the corners with no one out in the 6th inning. However, Bieber then recorded back-to-back strikeouts before inducing a fly out to end the inning.

Through the first game’s first 7 innings, the Pittsburgh Pirates had seven base hits. However, they went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. While they failed to score off of Bieber, they had opportunities to do so.

When it was all said and done, the Pirates left eight runners on base. Pirate batters also struck out a whopping 16 times.

Kevin Newman Stays Hot

One bright spot for the struggle Pirate offense right now is Kevin Newman. After collecting a pair of hits in Thursday night’s loss, the infielder now has an eight game hitting streak. Newman also drew a walk in the loss.

After a slow start to the season, Newman has started to heat up in the past week. He is now hitting for a .292/.329/.375 slash line this season. While you want to see more power out of Newman, it is could to see him starting to make good contact consistently and to see the base hits, as they did during his stellar rookie campaign last season, starting to drop again.

Next. A Pirate Prospects Jumps Into FanGraphs Top 100. dark

What’s Next

Friday night the Pittsburgh Pirates will kick off a three-game weekend series at PNC Park against their divisional rival Milwaukee Brewers. Chad Kuhl (3.21 ERA, 4.21 FIP) will look to continue his strong start to the season, while the Brewers will counter with Adrian Houser (3.27 ERA, 4.78 FIP).