Pittsburgh Pirates: Strong Start by Wil Crowe Wasted in Loss

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 08: Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 08, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 08: Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 08, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

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Despite Wil Crowe turning in the best start of his MLB career on Saturday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates came up short in a 3-2 loss against the Chicago Cubs

Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking to even their weekend series against the Chicago Cubs. While the team received a strong start from Wil Crowe on Saturday afternoon it was not enough in a 3-2 loss against the Cubs.

With the loss, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 13-19 on the season. The Pirates are now just 1-8 in their last 9 games played. This loss also secured the team’s third consecutive series loss after going 4-0-2 in their previous 6 series played.

Wil Crowe turns in his best MLB start

As we mentioned above, Crowe started for the Pittsburgh Pirates and turned in a strong start. Crowe used his off-speed pitches more than he had in the past and his changeup played up. He threw 63% of his pitches for strikes.

Crowe pitched a career high 6 innings on Saturday afternoon, allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits, a walk, 5 strikeouts and no home runs allowed. He allowed just two hard-hit balls in Saturday’s start and both went for outs.

Crowe also got brunt a bit by his defense.

In the 1st inning the Cubs scored a run after Colin Moran failed to squeeze a throw from Crowe on a play that should have resulted in an out. Then in the 4th inning, the Cubs scored their 2nd run of the game after Wilmer Difo failed to come up throwing on a pop out to shallow center field. Had Difo come up firing, odds are, Willson Contreras would not have tagged and scored from third base. All in all it was a great start from Crowe on Saturday afternoon.

Colin Moran makes an early exit

After snagging a line drive off the bat of Jason Heyward in the 1st inning, Moran started to spring toward first base in an effort to double off Contreras. After diving for the bag, Moran got up slowly and struggled to walk off the field.

At first glance things looked ugly for Moran as it appeared he could not put any weight on his left leg. Later in the game the Pirates reported that Moran left the game with left groin discomfort and that he is day-to-day.

Hopefully, Moran will indeed be just day-to-day. But with how it appeared on the field Moran and the Pirates will likely remain in wait and see mode. This season Moran is hitting for a .297/.352/.468 slash line and a 129 wRC+. If the Pirates lose Moran for any extended period of time an already struggling Pirate lineup will be in a lot of trouble.

Ka’ai Tom making his case

Saturday afternoon Ka’ai Tom made another start in left field for the Pirates. In the loss he was 1-for-3 with a walk and his first career home run. Tom’s home run was a 2-run shot in the 3rd inning which resulted in the lone Pirate runs of the game.

Since joining the Pirates, Tom has been able to make a case for additional playing time in the outfield. Tom is now 4-for-17 with a home run, 6 walks and he’s been hit by a pitch. While the Pirates struggling to find healthy and productive outfielders, Tom will continue to see regular playing time as long as he continues to produce at the plate.

Tough like 7th inning sinks the Pirates

With Crowe’s day over Sam Howard was summoned from the bullpen. Howard faced three batters, retiring two of the three while also recording a strikeout. However, he did issue a walk to Hayward to start the inning.

With two outs and Heyward on first base Derek Shelton lifted Howard for Clay Holmes. Heyward stole second base and this would prove to be critical. Pinch hitter Matt Duffy was just able to reach a two-strike slider from Holmes and bloop it into right field for a hit. Phillip Evans came up firing and the throw beat Heyward to the plate, but it was just enough off line to where Michael Perez’s swipe attempt missed Heyward. This gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.

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What’s next?

Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates will look to salvage the final game of this three-game weekend series at Wrigley Field. Lefty Tyler Anderson (3.24 ERA, 3.38 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the Cubs are scheduled to send the struggling Kyle Hendricks (6.07 ERA, 7.29 FIP) to the mound. First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 2:20 PM ET.