The Pittsburgh Pirates took one of the most painful losses in recent memory to the Cincinnati Reds in Game One of Saturday’s double header.
The Pittsburgh Pirates took an extremely painful, gruesome, and just overall depressing loss to the 3-22 (now 4-22) Cincinnati Reds during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. To say that Murhphy’s Law was not on the side of the Pirates today would be an understatement of the 9-2 loss. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get into the root causes of today’s loss.
Roberto Pérez suffers nasty injury, forces Josh VanMeter to catch
Roberto Pérez started today’s game behind the dish and was off to a strong start. He had entered the day with a 100 wRC+ and collected two singles, raising his wRC+ on the season to 109. One of those hits came in the top of the 8th and was advaced to second base by a single from Ben Gamel.
Unfortunately, Pérez suffered a nasty injury while running to second base, causing him to be pulled from the game. Pérez couldn’t walk off the field under his own weight and had to be carried off.
Because Andrew Knapp had been ejected earlier in the game after mouthing off to home plate umpire Will Little, the Pittsburgh Pirates were forced to turn to their emergency catcher Josh VanMeter in a 2-2 game. There were many strikes not called because of VanMeter’s lack of experience and the communication issue between pitcher and catcher was aparent.
The Pirates proceded to give up seven runs during the bottom of the 8th inning. Wil Crowe was tagged with the tough loss and three “earned” runs. Plus some bad calls by the home plate umpire didn’t help the already dire situation either.
Pirates Fail To Capitalize On 8th Inning Rally
The Pittsburgh Pirates did have a chance to take the lead in the top of the 8th inning. The Pirates loaded the bases with no outs against Reds right-handed reliever Lucas Sims. Sims had entered the day with an ERA over 15 and 2:4 K:BB ratio. But the Pirates failed to capatalize on this and three of the Pirates’ hottest hitters, Daniel Vogelbach, Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Michael Chavis, all went down on strikes.
JT Brubaker Turns In Strong Start
Today’s been a pretty rough day to be a Pirate fan, so let’s end on a positive note. Right-hander JT Brubaker took the mound today and turned in a strong start. He tossed 5 innings, surrendering 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.
Brubaker also struck out 9 batters, the most he’s had in a game so far this season and tied for his single-game career best. At least one of the two earned runs wasn’t completely on him as third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes made a low throw that wasn’t picked by first baseman Michael Chavis, and was charged with an error.
This game was extremely painful for two reasons. The first is pretty ovbious. The main cause of the Pirate loss might affect them all season if Pérez’s injury is long term. The second is because this was a loss to a team who entered the day 3-22, and some have seriously underestimated how good the Pirates have been when you compare them to the Reds.
Although this isn’t to say the Pirates are playoff bound or anything even close to that, the difference in ERA between the Pirates and the Reds is the same difference between the Pirates and the Dodgers. The difference in wRC+ between the Pirates and Reds is also the same difference between the Pirates and Dodgers.
The Pirates will look to pick themselves back up at 6:40 tonight. Mitch Keller will take the mound after a great start on Sunday against the Padres. He’ll face off against Reds’ rookie right-hander Dauri Moreta, who is making his first start of the season and has given up seven earned runs in his 12.1 innings of relief.