Pittsburgh Pirates: Club Struggled Against Detroit in 2020

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Niko Goodrum #28 of the Detroit Tigers slides safely into second base past Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates for a double in the sixth inning during the game at PNC Park on August 8, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 08: Niko Goodrum #28 of the Detroit Tigers slides safely into second base past Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates for a double in the sixth inning during the game at PNC Park on August 8, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates first interleague series of the season starts tonight against the Detroit Tigers.  They will look to perform better than a season ago.

With interleague action being a common recent innovation to the game, the Pittsburgh Pirates natural rival has been the Detroit Tigers.  Marty previewed the series earlier today, while I will take a retrospective look at last season.  The Pirates went 0-3 while allowing 30 runs in the games.  This is important as the Pirates are throwing their two best starters so far this season in Tyler Anderson and JT Brubaker in games one and three with former top prospect Mitch Keller in game two.  The Pirates need to see Keller grow and hopefully turn around the club’s run prevention against Detroit last year.

In the first game against the Tigers in 2020, the Pirates got beat 17-13, allowing 13 runs in innings four through six, along with an additional four in the 11th.  Chad Kuhl pitched well in the first four innings but Steven Brault walked three and allowed four without allowing a run.  Dovydas Neverauskas allowed four runs in the 11th and took the loss.  Bryan Reynolds, Phillip Evans, Adam Frazier and Erik Gonzalez all had good games offensively.

One addition to the 2020 club that didn’t work out was Derek Holland, and he allowed nine runs over five innings last year.  Left-handed reliever Sam Howard pitched an inning allowing one run on two hits but he did strike out two batters.  Kevin Newman went 4-5 with two RBIs but Gregory Polanco went 0-5 with three strikeouts.

In the final game of the series, the Pittsburgh Pirates lost a close 2-1 game.  Chris Stratton allowed one run in three innings while striking out six while Richard Rodriguez allowed a run in two innings while striking out three.  Offensively, Erik Gonzalez went 2-4 and drove in the only run the Pirates scored all game.

Analyzing Moran's Strong Start. dark. Next

Overall, the Pittsburgh Pirates have played better in 2021 than in 2020 which is a good sign for the series against Detroit.  In the first two games last season, the Pirates failed to hold the Tigers offense in check and in the final game, the club couldn’t get the bats going.  With Bryan Reynolds looking better at the plate, and the growth of JT Brubaker, the Pittsburgh Pirates should at least be more competitive against Detroit this year.

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