Death, taxes, the Pittsburgh Pirates failing to sweep series
Baseball can be a weird, weird sport. For the Pittsburgh Pirates that has been on full display this season when they have attempted to sweep a series. After blowing a 2-0 lead through 5 innings on Wednesday night, the Pirates are now 0-11 this season when attempting to sweep a series. Yes, 0-11.
Even going against the worst team in the National League – the Arizona Diamondbacks – the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to secure a series sweep. With the loss, the Pirates are now 46-81 on the season, officially ending any hopes of posting a winning record in 2021.
The 2 Pirate runs came when Ke’Bryan Hayes doubled in the 4th inning, moved to third base on a passed ball and then scored on a Jacob Stallings sacrifice fly. Then in the 5th inning Michael Chavis singled home Gregory Polanco, giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, this was a lead they could not hold.
Bryse Wilson goes 5 strong in his return
After making his first three starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed pitcher Bryse Wilson was placed on the injured list. This was done due to the Pirates wanting to shut Wilson down for 10 days to help manage his work load.
Returning to the mound on Wednesday night Wilson turned in his best start yet as a Pirate. In 5 scoreless innings of work Wilson limited the Diamondbacks to 2 hits, 2 walks and he struck out 7. His stuff looked the best it has yet with the Pirates as he generated a healthy 15 swings-and-misses in the start.
At no point in the start was Wilson in much trouble or hot water. He threw 74 pitches, with 48 of them (64.9%) being thrown for strikes. If the Pittsburgh Pirates were not watching Wilson’s work load he almost assuredly would have took the mound to start the 6th inning.
In four starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates Wilson has pitched well, flashing why he was once a top-100 prospect in all of baseball. Wilson has now pitched 20 innings in his four Pirate starts, allowing 8 runs on 17 hits, 5 walks, 2 home runs allowed and 15 strikeouts. This comes out to a 3.60 ERA, 6.3% walk rate, 18.8% strikeout rate and he’s allowed home runs at a 0.10 HR/9 rate as a member of the Pirates. Assuming Wilson pitches well in September, he should enter the 2022 season with a spot locked up in the Pirate starting rotation.
Pirate bullpen struggles
Nick Mears replaced Wilson in the 6th inning and inherited a 2-0 lead. After retiring the first batter he faced Mears allowed a solo home run and issued a walk, this led to Mears being lifted for lefty Anthony Banda.
Banda allowed an inherited run to score, but that was due to a fielding error by Polanco. To Banda’s credit, he managed to work around the mess that the Polanco’s error created without allowing another run, keeping the game tied at 2.
Banda returned to the mound in the 7th inning. I that 7th inning Banda allowed pinch hit home run to Carson Kelly that gave the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead. This was a lead that the Diamondbacks would not relinquish.
Kyle Keller then took the mound in the 8th inning and his season long struggles continued. Keller allowed a pair of runs on 2 hits, a walk and a strikeout in his inning of work. As a result of Keller’s struggles the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves trailing 5-2 after 8 innings of play. On the season Keller now has an 8.14 ERA and 8.13 FIP. Despite his struggles, for some reason, Derek Shelton continues to give him high leverage innings.
One highlight for the bullpen, however, was Luis Oviedo. The Rule 5 pick pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning. Oviedo, who has struggled this season, has now pitched 5 consecutive scoreless innings for the Pirates.
Thursday night the Pittsburgh Pirates will kick a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. Mitch Keller (6.35 ERA, 4.51 FIP) will toe the rubber for the Pirates as he looks to build off his strong start of 5 scoreless innings last time out. Miles Mikolas (1.00 ERA, 3.36 FIP) will start for the Cardinals. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.