Pittsburgh Pirates: Defense Fails JT Brubaker in Loss

Chicago Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates

Tuesday night at Wrigley Field defense failed JT Brubaker and the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-0 loss against the Chicago Cubs

The offense of the Pittsburgh Pirates is currently stuck in an ugly funk. After being shutout for the second day in a row in a 7-0 loss against the Chicago Cubs, the Pirates are now just 15-21 on the season.

Pittsburgh has scored just 1 run in their last 3 games. Dating back to Saturday night’s victory over the Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates have scored just 1 run in their last 31 innings played. It is not a good time to be a Pirate batter right now.

Right now the Pirate offense is not good enough. Not even close. Following a strong than expected start to the season, rightfully so, the Pirates are back on their way to being a laughingstock of baseball. Such is life as a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pirates implode in the 4th inning

The 4th inning started with great promise for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With one out in the inning Daniel Vogelbach hit his first career triple, a stand up one at that. On a fly ball to shallow right field third base coach Mike Rabelo then made the head scratching decision to send Vogey. Vogey was out by a mile at home plate, and after exchanging words with Cub catcher Willson Contreras the benches cleared.

In the bottom half of the inning, the wheels fell off the cart.

Contreras hit a routine ground ball to start the inning but reached on a throwing error by shortstop Rodolfo Castro. Ian Happ then hit a pop up on the infield that should have been a routine out. As the shortstop Castro needed to take control of the play and call everyone off, however, he did not and the ball dropped on the infield. Worst of all third baseman Michael Chavis then picked the ball up and looked to Castro instead of firing to second base where he would have had Contreras dead to rights for an out.

Seiya Suzuki then hit a 2-run double that made the score 3-0 Cubs. This is an at-bat that should have occurred with two outs and no one on base. Instead, it made the score 3-0 and gave the Cubs a runner in scoring position with no one out.

After Brubaker issued a walk and surrendered a ground rule double, he got a huge strikeout by freezing Patrick Wisdom. Villar then hit a ground ball t first baseman Yoshi Tsutsugo that looked like a routine out. Tsutusgo bobbled the ball and Villar was awarded an infield hit and a RBI, although it should have been an error on Tsutsugo.

After it appeared Brubaker helped start a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning, the Cubs challenged the play and it was overturned as Castro never touched the bag at second base. Brubaker, who was visibly upset with his defense, finally got out of the inning with a strikeout. However, by the time Brubaker finally ended the inning the Cubs led 6-0.

It was an embarrassing, ugly inning for the Pirates.

JT Brubaker pitches much better than his final line

JT Brubaker was looking to build upon a strong 5 start stretch entering Tuesday night. In his previous 5 starts Brubaker had a 3.91 ERA, 3.84 FIP and had struck out 26 batters in 23 innings pitched.

Tuesday night he threw the ball arguably the best he has all season, yet his final line was not a pretty one. In 5.2 innings pitched Brubaker allowed 6 runs, 4 earned, on 6 hits, 3 walks and a home run. He did strikeout a career best 10 batters, however.

The home run Brubaker allowed was a solo home run to Jonathan Villar in the 3rd inning. Off the bat it looked like a routine pop out to left center field but the ball just barely snuck into the seats. According to Stat Cast, Wrigley Field is the only MLB ballpark where that ball would have been a home run.

We have already discussed the clown show defense that was played behind Brubaker in the 4th inning. There is no need to discuss it any further.

Brubaker threw the two hardest pithes of the night at 98.5 and 97.0 MPH. He also had multiple other fastballs top 95 MPH. His slider looked as good as ever as Cub batters flailed at it throughout the night. In total, Brubaker generated 19 swings-and-misses in his start.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to salvage the final game of the series on Wednesday night. The starting pitcher for the Pirates is TBD, although it appears that Dillon Peters (3.98 ERA, 3.10 FIP) will operate as an opener for Mitch Keller (6.61 ERA, 4.69 FIP). Veteran lefty Drew Smyly (3.64 ERA, 4.48 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Cubs. First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 7:40 PM ET.