Pittsburgh Pirates: Steven Brault Plays Stopper, Ends Losing Streak

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Steven Brault #43 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on September 17, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Steven Brault #43 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on September 17, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Thursday night the Pittsburgh Pirates were in dire need of a strong start from lefty Steven Brault and that is exactly what they got.

Thursday night the Pittsburgh Pirates returned home to PNC Park to kick off a five-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Entering the first game of the series the Pirates had lost eight games in a row and were in dire need of a win. Even more than that, after playing a doubleheader on Monday with another DH scheduled for Firday, they were in even more dire of a need for a strong performance from starting pitcher Steven Brault. Well, the team would get both of these.

Following a 5-1 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates now own a 15-34 record this season. While the team has nothing to play for, other than to play spoiler, it always feels good to beat those no good, dirty, rotten, evil, cheating Red Birds. Especially with the Cardinals jockeying for postseason positioning.

Strong Start From Steven Brault

As was mentioned above, the Pittsburgh Pirates were in dire need of a strong start from Brault. The team would get just that. With Brault’s outing on Thursday night, the Pirate bullpen will be nice and rested for Friday’s doubleheader.

Brault pitched his first career complete game on Thursday night. This made him the first Pirate starting pitcher this season to pitch more than 7 innings in a start this season. In his 9 innings of work, Brault allowed just 1 run on two hits, two walks, no home runs allowed, and he struck out eight.

Poor glove side control has been a major bugaboo for Brault in his MLB career. On Thursday night, this was not the case. He was aggressive, trusted his stuff and attacked the strike zone. This outing lowered his ERA on the season to 4.04. If Brault turns in another strong start or two before the season ends, he will likely enter the off-season with a spot locked up in the Pirate starting rotation for 2021.

Brault deserves a MASSIVE tip fo the cap for this performance. Throwing a complete game the day before a doubleheader is always a great feat, but throw in how diminant Brault was and it makes it even better. He did not allow a hit after the 3rd inning, and pulled off the complete game on just 110 pitches.

Ke’Bryan Hayes Continues To Roll

Newcomer Ke’Bryan Hayes continues to show why he entered the season as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. In the 5-1 victory, Hayes was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and he was hit by a pitch. He now owns a .313/.389/.583 slash line and a 155 wRC+ through the first 54 plate appearances of his MLB career.

The double Hayes hit left his bat at 103.1 MPH. He also hit into a double play, but hit the ball at 89.8 MPH which is above league average. Since he was promoted to the MLB level, Hayes leads all MLB batters in exit velocity.

It appears the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t just have a keeper in Hayes, but a budding superstar. The new face of the Pirate franchise has arrived.

A Large Cup Of Hot Coffee

There is no denying that Gregory Polanco has struggled this season. However, he has still had his fair share of big games in which he flashed his sky high potential. Thursday night was the latest for El Coffee.

Polanco went 2-for-4 on Thursday night. He ripped a double down the line, and also launched a go-ahead 3-run home run to right-center field. Best of all, this home run came off of a left-handed pitcher. That home run was also the hardest hit ball in the game, leaving his bat at 109.3 MPH.

Again, Polanco has struggled this season. But he continues to kill the baseball and be among MLB’s leaders in exit velocity and hard hit rate. He has been absolutely snake bitten by a .188 batting averge on balls in play. Hopefully, this off-season Polanco can work to cut down on his striekouts while continuing to crush the baseball. If he does this, he should be a bounce back candidate in 2021.

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What’s Next

On Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will play a doubleheader at PNC Park. Game one is scheduled for 4:05. Trevor Williams (6.35 ERA, 6.37 DRA) is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the Cardinals plan to send Carlos Martinez (10.32 ERA, 4.82 DRA) to the mound.

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