Pittsburgh Pirates Kick Off Long Homestand With 5-1 Victory

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 09: Michael Chavis #2 of the Pittsburgh Pirates scores against catcher Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth inning at PNC Park on May 9, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 09: Michael Chavis #2 of the Pittsburgh Pirates scores against catcher Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth inning at PNC Park on May 9, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

71. Final. 5. 4. 1

The Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a seven-game homestand on Monday night by playing one of their best all-around games of the season

Baseball, man, it can be weird. OVer the weekend the Pittsburgh Pirates lost a series against the lowly Cincinnati Reds, who, at 5-23, are off to one of the worst starts in MLB history. It appeared things would not get any better for the Pirates with arguably the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, coming to town.

This is where baseball got weird. After finishing off a poorly played series against the lowly Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off their series against the Dodgers with what may have been their best played game of the season. This led to a 5-1 victory for the Pirates, improving to 12-16 on the season.

Monday night also saw a Pirate starting pitcher get a victory for the first time this season. While pitcher’s win/loss record is one of the most meaningless stats in sports, it is still wild that no Pirate starter had recorded a victory until game 28. It’s even more wild that the team is not worst than 12-16 through these games.

José Quintana shuts the Dodgers down

Lefty José Quintana started for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night and shut the highly potent Dodger lineup down. With the Pirates in dire need of improved starting pitching Quintana turned in arguably the best start of the season for a Pirate pitcher.

Quintana allowed just 2 hits in 6 shutout innings pitched. While he walked 4 Dodger batters, he also struck out 5. Quintana generated 10 swings-and-misses and kept the Dodgers off balance throughout the start.

On the season Quintana now owns a 2.70 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 20.0% strikeout rate, and he’s allowed just 23 base hits in 30 innings pitched across 6 starts. If Quintana continues to pitch anywhere near to this well he should be a great trade chip for the Pittsburgh Pirates in July.

Jack Suwinski hits first MLB home run

With the Pirates leading 3-0 in the 8th inning and looking for insurance, rookie right fielder Jack Suwinski put the game on ice. This came when he launched a 2-run home run off of Robbie Erlin to center field. Suwinski’s first career home run made the score 5-0 Pirates.

Since being promoted to the majors Suwinski has rarely looked overmatched at the plate and continues to put together strong at-bats. This is something manager Derek Shelton has raved about with Suwinski.

As I wrote about earlier today, Suwinski needs to continue to play every day. In addition ot his strong at-bats he has been a plus defender for the Pirates, entering the day wit ha +4 Defensive Runs Saved in right field. Monday night Suwinski continued to make the case for regular playing time.

Another Michael Pérez home run

For the second time in as many days since returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Michael Pérez hit a home run. Pérez’s home run came in the 7th inning with the Pirates leading 1-0. Not only did the solo blast grow the lead to 2-0 it also ended Dodger starter Julio Urías night.

This was Pérez’s first extra base hit off a left-handed pitcher in over two years. Prior to being promoted he was hitting for a .294/.556/.353 slash line in 27 plate appearances at Triple-A Indianapolis. With Roberto Perez out the Pirates should roll with Mike Pérez as the primary catcher for now.

Michael Chavis continues to impress

Utility man Michael Chavis has done nothing but impress since coming to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Austin Davis trade last summer. He has gotten off to strong offensive start to the 2022 season and that continued in the victory.

Chavis was 2-for-3 with a triple on Monday night. His triple led off 4th inning, he would then come around to score on a Yoshi Tsutsugo sacrifice fly to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Chavis also drove in a run later in the game with a sacrifice fly.

While Chavis is drawing walks at just a 3.8% clip, he is slugging .466 with a healthy .205 isolated slugging (ISO) own 79 plate appearances this season. All of this shakes out to a 108 wRC+, which means he is 8% above league average as a hitter. If Chavis continues to do this it will be difficult to keep him out of the lineup moving forward.

Bullpen does it’s job

After a rare poor series in Cincinnati, the Pirate bullpen bounced back on Monday night. Anthony Banda was first up in relief of Quintana, pitching 2/3 of a scoreless inning. Banda issued a walk to start the 7th inning before allowing a one-out bloop single to shallow right field. In what was arguably the biggest at-bat in the game at that point, Banda then got Freddie Freeman to fly out to left field with the Pirates leading 1-0.

Wil Crowe was then summoned. It took Crowe just one pitch to induce an infield pop out to end the inning. After Crowe pitching a scoreless 8th inning, David Bednar took over in the 9th. Bednar allowed a home run to start the inning, but retired the next three batters he faced to finish off the 5-1 Pirate victory.

Next. First Pirate Mock Draft. dark

Game two of the series is slated for Tuesday night at PNC Park. Right now Bryse Wilson (3.79 ERA, 4.18 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates. However, in each of his two most recent starts Dillon Peters has worked as an opener for Wilson, so that could be the case again on Tuesday night. Righty Tony Gonsolin (1.64 ERA, 3.39 FIP) is slated to start for the Dodgers. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET.