Despite a strong start from Tyler Anderson the Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night making it 12 straight losses against the Dodgers
Some times in sports teams go through a rut against another team. Right now, the Pittsburgh Pirates are stuck in one hell of a rut against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Following a 2-1 loss on Wednesday night, the Pirates have now lost 12 straight games against the Dodgers and 19 of their last 21.
These results should not be a major surprise. After all, since these struggles began in 2017 the Dodgers have been arguably the best team in baseball while the Pirates are on their way to their fourth losing record in the past five seasons. With the loss, the Pirates now own a 23-37 record on the season.
Yet another strong start from Tyler Anderson
With the trade deadline just seven weeks away the Pittsburgh Pirates have multiple players who should generate plenty of trade interest. One of these players, as MLB Trade Rumors pointed out last week, is left-handed starting pitcher Tyler Anderson.
Anderson toed the rubber for the Pirates on Wednesday night and turned in yet another strong start. Outside of a pair of solo home runs by Justin Turner, the second of which bounced out of the glove of Ka’ai Tom as he nearly robbed Turner of the home run, Anderson kept the Dodgers off the board.
Maybe the highlight of the night for Anderson came with two outs in the 6th inning. Pirate manager Derek Shelton came out to the mound to remove Anderson from the game. However, Anderson talked Shelton into leaving him in the game to face left-handed hitting Gavin Lux. The veteran would get Lux to hit a lazy fly ball to right field, ending the inning and his night.
In 6 innings of work Anderson allowed just the 2 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. Overall this season he now owns a 4.52 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 6.7% walk rate and a 21.6% strikeout rate. If you take away a 9 runs in 5 innings disaster of a start against the Braves, Anderson owns a 3.62 ERA this season.
Outside of the home run (1.60 HR/9) Anderson has been very solid this season. Factor in him being a left-handed pitcher, a veteran and having the ability to consistently give a team 6 strong innings, and the Pittsburgh Pirates should be able to fetch a fine return for him before the July 31 trade deadline.
Pirates waste early opportunities
Tony Gonsolin made his first start of the season for the Dodgers on Wednesday night. Thanks in large part to a lack of control Gonsolin failed to get out of the 2nd inning. Despite his struggles, the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to capitalize.
Gonsolin allowed a lead off single to Adam Frazier in the 1st inning and walked Colin Moran with two outs. Following an infield hit by Gregory Polanco that drove in a run, Kevin Newman walked to load the bases. Gonsolin then struck out Michael Perez to end the inning.
After Gonsolin got back-to-back strikeouts to start the 2nd inning his control would fail him again. Gonsolin issued three straight two-out walks before being lifted for lefty Victor Gonzalez. Moran stepped to the plate against Gonzalez and hit a 105.9 MPH missile… but it was right at left fielder AJ Pollock.
In just 1.2 innings of work Gonsolin allowed a hit and walked 5 batters. Despite this, the Pirates managed just 1 run off of him. Wasting these early opportunities proved to be costly for the Pirates in their loss.
Colin Moran exits with injury
Since the start of the 2020 season Moran has looked like a hitter who is starting to turn a corner. Entering play on Wednesday night the left-handed slugger owns a .266/.333/.468 slash line, .202 ISO, 8.8% walk rate and 117 wRC+ in 330 plate appearances since the start of last season. He is also among the league leaders in exit velocity and hard hit rate since the start of last season.
Unfortunately for Moran, the injury bug is now starting to pop up. After missing nearly a month with a hamstring issue Moran return from the injured list this past Sunday. Now it appears that another IL stint may be unavoidable.
Moran was hit in the hand by a David Price pitch in the bottom of the 5th inning. Moran’s hand started to swell instantly and he was immediately removed from the game. The HBP sounded ugly and Moran’s hand did not look good afterward.
Hopefully, things will go as well as possible for Moran. It is tough to see any player battle the injury bug, especially when that batter is the clean up hitter and one of the few true power threats in a lineup that lacks length and depth. It also is tough to see for a hitter like Moran who appears to be rounding into his prime.
9th inning rally falls short
Leading off the 9th inning Ka’ai Tom worked a walk off of Dodger closer Kenley Jansen. After improving his walk rate to a healthy 13.1%, Tom advanced to second base on a ground out by Frazier.
With two outs in the inning, the Pirate trailing by 1 and the tying run on second base, the Bucs had exactly who they wanted coming up to the plate. Hayes put together an excellent at-bat as he battled one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.
The AB ended with Hayes lacing a 92.2 MPH up the middle. With the ball ticketed for center field for a game tying single, Jansen threw his glove up and in a ‘look what I caught’ moment, snagged the ball to end the game. That must be why they call it a save.
Thursday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates will look to salvage the third and final game of this series. Mitch Keller (6.65 ERA, 4.56 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates while the Dodgers have lefty Julio Urías (3.48 ERA, 3.13 FIP) slated to take the mound. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 12:35 PM ET.