Pittsburgh Pirates: Grading Series Loss at Great American Ballpark
By Marty Leap
Pirate Starting Pitchers
Cody Ponce and Mitch Keller started in the two games on Monday’s doubleheader. Ponce turned in yet another strong start for the Pirates allowing just 1 run. The lone run he allowed came on a solo home run, which was also the lone hit he allowed. Ponce walked two and struck out three.
The problem is Ponce only pitched 4 innings. Getting just 4 innings out of your starting pitcher is never good enough. This is especially true when that pitcher is starting in a game that is part of a double header.
Keller returned from the injured list to start game two on Monday night. Keller, like Ponce, would have a short start lasting just 3 innings. While he allowed just two hits, he was charged with 3 runs and he walked a career-high four batters. Keller’s velocity was higher than his two pre-IL starts, but he still struggled to generate swings-and-misses and he struggled with control.
Joe Musgrove started for the Bucs on Wednesday night. With one out in the 1st inning and the bases loaded, Musgrove hit Mike Moustakas with a pitch, which was foolowed by a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring hit. After allowing a home run to lead off the 2nd inning, Musgrove settled in.
Musgrove retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced, including striking out the final three. In his 5 innings of work, he struck out eight batters and only walked one. While there were plenty of positives from his start, his 1st inning issues led to him allowing 4 runs and his outing being just 5 innings. This brings down his overall grade from the start.
Wednesday night was the best start of the series for a Pirate starting pitcher. In 5.1 innings pitched, JT Brubaker allowed just 1 run on five hits, no home runs, a walk, and four strikeouts. Despite the strong start, the team still lost on Wednesday night.
Starting pitching continues to be a major problem for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This season, the performance of their starting pitchers has not been good enough. Period. That continued in their series loss against the Reds.