Ladies and gentlemen… following a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, for the first time in 2020 the Pittsburgh Pirates have won back-to-back games!
Saturday afternoon at PNC Park, Derek Holland led the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Milwaukee Brewers as the team was looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. The Pirates would accomplish just that. In the process, the team also won their first series of the season.
With their 12-5 victory over the Brewers on Saturday afternoon, the Pirates have won back-to-back games for the first time in 2020. With the win, the team is now 6-17 on the season. While the overall record is not fun, finally winning back-t-back games is. Cue to Lou Brown, bay bay!
Finally… Some Hot Coffee
It goes without saying that the Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled offensively this season. A big reason for these struggles have been due to many of the team’s key hitters struggling. One of these hitters is Gregory Polanco.
Well, Saturday afternoon, Polanco had his best game of the season. In his first at bat Polanco rocketed a Josh Lindblom pitch 105.8 MPH into the right field corner for a double to lead off the 2nd inning. Then in the 4th inning, Polanco launched a 105.7 MPH missile 434 feet into the center field seats for a 2-run home run. He would add a walk against a lefty in the 7th inning.
Saturday afternoon was a great day for Polanco. He looked locked in at the plate and was tracking the ball well. Hopefully, this is the game that will get El Coffee going offensively. If it is, that will bode well for the 2020 Pittsburgh Pirates and beyond.
Breaking The Game Open In The 5th And 6th Innings
Entering the bottom of the 5th inning the Pittsburgh Pirates held a 3-1 lead. In this inning, the offense would give the team some breathing room.
Adam Frazier led the inning off with his team-leading 4th home run of the season. Then with one out in the inning, Colin Moran hit a double to left field on a ball Christian Yelich lost in the sun. Bryan Reynolds followed with a double into the northside notch. This double scored Moran, and gave the Pirates a 5-1 lead. Then in the 6th inning, Jacob Stallings hit a 2-run home run. The first long ball of the season from the Pirate back stop made the score 7-1 Bucs.
Not only was it nice to have some breathing room, it was also good to see Reynolds continuing to jump start his season offensively. Reynolds, like Polanco, has struggled mightily this season. However, he followed up a three hit night, which included a home run and a triple, on Friday night, with another extra base hit on Saturday afternoon. Finally, Reynolds is starting to look like the all-star caliber hitter he was in 2019.
A Strong Outing From Derek Holland
While the Pittsburgh Pirates would have liked his pitch count to be a bit lower so he could have gone another inning, the team will gladly take the outing they got from veteran lefty Derek Holland on Saturday afternoon. In 5 innings of work, Holland held the Brewers to just 1 run on four hits, three walks and five strikeouts.
Holland also did a nice job of working out of trouble. He induced a double play in the 1st inning, and an inning-ending double play in the 2nd inning. He was also able to keep the Brewers off the board in the 3rd inning, despite the Brew Crew having a runner on third with just one out.
On the season, Holland now owns a 6.17 ERA and a 6.52 FIP for the Pirates. Those stats, however, do not do him justice. 5 of the 16 runs and and four four of the seven home runs he has allowed this season came in the 1st inning of a start against the Detroit Tigers. Outside of this one disastrous inning, Holland owns a 4.43 ERA this season. Any team will take that from their number five starting pitcher.
With the trade deadline now just nine days away, it is possible this was Holland’s last start with the Pirates. He is a free agent to be, and will be coveted on the trade market. With trade talks surround Holland heating up, he undoubtedly raised his trade value with his outing on Saturday afternoon.
Struggles Continue For Dovydas Neverauskas
Overall, the Pirate bullpen has done a nice job of stabilizing itself in recent games. In fact, quietly, most of the arms in the Pirate bullpen are putting together nice seasons. One pitcher that is not is righty Dovydas Neverauskas.
Neverauskas pitched the 7th inning on Saturday afternoon and continued to struggle. He issued a two-out walk, which was followed by a 3-run home run by Pirate killer Keston Hiura. This cut the Pirate lead from 7-1 to 7-4.
Neverauskas has now allowed 14 hits, three home runs, walked five, and struck out 12 in 9 innings of work this season. All of that comes out to a 11.00 ERA and 6.51 FIP on the season, there really is zero reason for Neverauskas to still be on the roster over flame throwing relief pitching prospect Blake Cederlind.
A Big Day From Adam Frazier
The aforementioned home run was not Frazier’s lone contribution on Saturday afternoon. He had two other hits on the day, including a 2-run double in the 7th inning that made the score 12-7 Pirates.
While Frazier started the day slow, he has started to hit the ball well in recent games. This is great to see from Frazier, especially with the trade deadline quickly approaching. Make no mistake about it, Frazier will be one of the most highly sought after Pirate players in the next nine days.
To be honest, it would be a bit of a surprise if Frazier is still a Pirate come September 1st.
The third and final game of the series is scheduled for 1:35 at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon. JT Brubaker (4.91 ERA, 4.45 FIP) will take the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates as he looks to bounce back from struggling in his last start. The Brewers will counter with righty Corbin Burnes (3.00 ERA, 3.32 FIP).