Pittsburgh Pirates: JT Brubaker Has First Poor Start of 2021 in Loss

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 18: JT Brubaker #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 18, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 18: JT Brubaker #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 18, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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JT Brubaker turned in his first poor start of the 2021 season as the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night

Following a four-game series split against the San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a brief two-game series at Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night. The Pirates were unable to start the series the way they wanted, suffering a 5-2 loss against the Red Birds.

Wit the loss, the Pittsburgh Pirates have fallen to 17-24 on the season. This includes being winless against the Cardinals, as the Bucs are now 0-4 this season against their NL Central division rivals.

JT Brubaker has first poor start

Through the first month and a half of the 2021 season there have been fewer starting pitchers in the National League who have been a bigger pleasant surprise than JT Brubaker. Well, Tuesday night Brubaker faced adversity for the first time this season.

While Brubaker’s final stat line was not pretty, and he will be the first to tell you it was his first poor start of the season, he did respond well to the early adversity. In the 1st inning Brubaker allowed a 2-run home run, which was the first home run he’s allowed this season that was not a solo home run. Then in the 3rd inning Brubaker allowed 2 more runs on a weakly hit bloop hit into shallow left field that someone could have caught.

To Brubaker’s credit he continued to battle throughout the night and managed to pitched 5.2 innings. In his 5.2 innings of work he allowed 5 runs on 8 hits, a home run, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Despite the poor start Brubaker still managed to pitch into the 6th inning while giving his team a chance to win. For the season he still owns a strong 3.27 ERA, 6.3% walk rate and 23.2% strikeout rate.

Offensive woes continue

The Pittsburgh Pirates are now just 5-12 in the month of May. The main reason why the Pirates have poor record this month has been their offensive struggles. After scoring just 2 runs in Tuesday night’s loss, the Pirates are now averaging just 2.4 runs per game in May.

Against the Giants in their most recent series struggles at the plate with RISP was a driving force behind the Pirates splitting the series instead of securing a series victory. Tuesday night, these struggles continued as the Pirates went just 1-for-5 with RISP while leaving 6 runners on base.

The Pirates were able to scratch out 2 runs in the 6th inning. These runs came via a ground out and an infield hit. Not exactly ringing hits.

In the loss the Pirates had just 6 hits and drew a pair of walks. Most of the ‘damage’ came from just two hitters. Gregory Polanco was 2-for-3 with a walk and a RBI and Kevin Newman was 2-for-4 with a double. Newman’s double was the lone extra base hit of the night for the Pirates.

Entering the season the Pirate lineup was not a deep one. With Ke’Bryan Hayes, Colin Moran and Phillip Evans all on the injured list, the lineup is struggling mightily. While this comes as no surprise due to the lack of depth in addition to their injuries, it is not any less frustrating as the Pirates continue to get mostly strong pitching outings.

Next. Travis Swaggerty Exits Game Early at Triple-A. dark

What’s next?

The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will play the second and final game of their brief two-game series on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium. Trevor Cahill (5.97 ERA, 3.85 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates while the Cardinals plan to send their ace Jack Flaherty (2.47 ERA, 2.94 FIP) to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:45 PM ET.

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