Pittsburgh Pirates: Wil Crowe’s Struggles Continue in Loss

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 01, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 01, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

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Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates capped off their brief two-game series in Kansas City with another loss, getting swept by the Royals

The woes of the Pittsburgh Pirates started against the Kansas City Royals in late April. Sitting at 12-11 on the season, the Pirates lost the second game of a two-game series against the Royals. This started the current slide the Pirates are on.

Tuesday night in Kansas City the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated once again by the Royals, this time by a 10-5 score. This finished off a two-game series sweep for the Royals and dropped the Pirates to 20-34 on the season. Starting with that loss against Kansas City when the Pirates were 12-11, the Bucs are just 8-23 in their last 31 games played.

Wil Crowe’s struggles continue

Righty Wil Crowe made the start for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. Early on Crowe appeared to be on his way to much needed bounce back start. However, in the 4th inning things started to come off the rails for Crowe.

Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez hit a 2-run home run off of Crowe in the 4th inning, cutting the Pirate lead to 4-3. While Crowe was able to navigate through the rest of the 4th inning with a lead things would completely implode on him in the 5th inning.

With a run already in for the Royals, Crowe walked the bases loaded in the 5th inning. In a questionable move by manager Derek Shelton, Crowe was left in the game to face lefty Andrew Benintendi. This decision back fired in a big way as Crowe would allow a grand slam. The second career grand slam for Benintendi made the score 8-4 Royals.

In 7 starts this season Crowe now owns a 7.26 ERA, 6.09 FIP, 2.03 HR/9, 11.7% walk rate and just a 19.3% strikeout rate. With the Pittsburgh Pirates prepared to give Chase De Jong an extended look following his strong start on Sunday it appears that Crowe will be the odd man out when JT Brubaker returns from the bereavement list later this week. With his struggles to get through a lineup after the first time through, among other issues, Crowe looks to project as a reliever at the Major League level.

Ka’ai Tom exits after being hit by a pitch

Outfielder Ka’ai Tom just returned from the injured list over the weekend. Since then, he has hit his 2nd MLB home run while continuing to be an on-base machine for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, it appears Tom could be in danger of another IL stint.

During a 3-run 3rd inning for the Pirates, Tom was hit in the hand by a pitch. After initially staying in the game he was removed after grimacing in pain following catching a fly ball in left field. Hopefully, this will prove to be precautionary and Tom will not miss any time.

Very quietly, Tom has been a productive hitter for the Pirates. He entered play on Tuesday with a 112 wRC+, which is 12 points higher than league average, as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. After his HBP on Tuesday night he owns a .382 on-base percentage since joining the club.

5 runs not enough for the Pittsburgh Pirates

While the Pirate offense has struggled for much of the 2021 season they had plenty of opportunities to score on Tuesday night. While the Bucs were able to plate 5 runs it was not enough in the loss.

With the bases loaded and no one out in the 3rd inning Bryan Reynolds singled in run. After that, however, the Pittsburgh Pirates were only able to muster sacrifice flies by Ben Gamel and Gregory Polanco for a 3-run inning that could have been bigger.

The team scored a run on a one-out Michael Perez double in the 4th inning, but stranded him at second base. They also scored a run in the 6th when Adam Frazier blooped a double down the left field line to plate a run, Frazier’s NL leading 19th double gave the Pirates their 5th and final run.

The 6th inning the Pirates could have had more. Following a Will Craig walk with two outs to load the bases, Kevin Newman appeared to have scored on a wild pitch. However, Reynolds was called for interference and the inning came to an end. In the 8th inning the Pirates got the first two runners of the inning on base but failed to score.

In the loss the Pirates were a woeful 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, which contributed to the Pirates leaving 9 runners on base. While the Pirate offense plated 5 runs on Tuesday night they easily could have had more.

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What’s next?

Following an off day on Thursday the Pittsburgh Pirates will return to PNC Park to start a four-game series against Starling Marte and the Miami Marlins. Tyler Anderson (4.63 ERA, 4.38 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the Marlin starter is currently listed as TBD. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.