Pittsburgh Pirates: Struggles With RISP Costly in 3-1 Loss
The Pittsburgh Pirates suffered another tough, late inning loss on their current road trip on Tuesday night
A road trip filled with late inning, gut punch losses continued for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. The latest was a 3-1 loss against the Washington Nationals that dropped the Pirates to 29-45 overall on the season.
Despite only scoring 1 run it did not come due to a lack of opportunities for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirate offense was putrid with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-7. The team left 8 runners on base, which included stranding a pair of runners in the 9th inning.
Strong José Quintana start wasted
Veteran lefty José Quintana started for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night and turned in yet another strong start. After quickly finding himself in a 1st inning jam, Quintana was able to hold the Nats to 1 run and that was all he would allow.
Quintana pitched 6 innings, allowing a run on 4 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. Quintana generated 14 swings-and-misses, and did a great job of racking up the strikeouts when he was in the soup a bit. He also did an excellent job stranding runners, getting the Nats to strand 6 base runners and go hitless with runners in scoring position.
On the season Quintana now owns a 3.43 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 7.8% walk rate, 20.9% strikeout rate and a strong home run rate of 0.83 HR/9. These results have come in 76 innings across 15 starts. Quintana should net the Pirates a strong return at the trade deadline.
Bucs baffled by Patrick Corbin
Entering the day Nationals’ lefty Patrick Corbin has been one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball. Corbin entered his 16th start of the season with a 6.60 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 8% walk rate and allowing home runs at a 1.59 HR/9 clip. Despite this, Corbin dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
At first it appeared the Pirates would continue Corbin’s woes. Ke’Bryan Hayes lined a 110.9 MPH single to center field to start the inning and Bryan Reynolds walked. While it looked like the Pirates were in business, Corbin would go on to strikeout the next three Pirate batters.
This trio of strikeouts was part of a season-high 12 strikeout performance for Corbin. He allowed a run on just 5 hits, a pair of walks, and a solo home run in 8 innings pitched. Corbin generated a season-high 19 swings-and-misses, and held Pirate batters to an 0-for-6 performance with runners in scoring position.
There is no way to slice it, the performance of the Pirate offense on Tuesday night was inexcusable. Facing one of the worst starting pitchers in the National League this season, Bucco bats were silenced throughout the night and held to just 1 run in 8 innings. That simply can not happen.
Strong night for Diego Castillo
Utility man Diego Castillo started in right field for the Pirates. An infielder by trait, Castillo, who had never played the outfield before this season, made a pair of tremendous catches in right field. Both of which were made all the more important by it being a close, low scoring game. This included a head up play where he used the back of his right hand to help keep the ball in his glove on a sliding catch.
Castillo also accounted for the lone Pirate run. His solo home run in the 6th inning, his 8th home run of the season, was the lone tally of the night for the Bucs. It also gave Castillo 6 home runs in his last 13 games.
While the offensive results have not been there all season, Castillo ranks in the 69th percentile of baseball in average exit velocity and barrel rate, and is in the 62nd percentile in hard hit rate. Castillo has hit the ball hard all season, played plus middle infield defense, and is growing as a corner outfielder. Castillo has all the tools needed to be a quality super utility man for al long time.
Oneil Cruz looks like a rookie for the first time
Since joining the Pirates last week shortstop Oneil Cruz has been generating buzz all across the baseball world. Even the best rookies, however, are going to have games in which they do indeed look like a rookie. Tuesday night was one of those games for Cruz.
Cruz was 0-for-4 at the plate with 3 strikeouts. This included Cruz going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, including a pair of strikeouts. He also committed his first error, a throwing error, since being recalled.
Fans will have to patient with Cruz. While he has limitless potential, there will be nights like this. That’s the case with any rookie. But as long as there are more good nights than bad, everything will be just fine.
Late inning road trip woes continue
As was mentioned above, the Pittsburgh Pirates, even though they could easily be 5-0, are now 0-5 on this road trip. A recurring theme from the road trip reared its ugly head again on Tuesday night when things went awry in the late innings. This time, it was in the bottom of the 8th.
After Josh Bell reached on an infield hit to start the inning. After Wil Crowe recorded a strikeout out, it appeared he had induced an inning ending 4-6-3 double play ball off the bat of Luis Garcia. Well, Hoy Park took to long to get the ball to Cruz to in his effort to start the double play, which led to Garcia reaching on a fielder’s choice.
Crowe then issued a two-out walk to Cease Hernandez. This walk was followed by a go-ahead 2-run double off the bat of pinch-hitter Yadiel Hernandez that was just over the out stretched glove of a sprinting Castillo in right field. These 2 runs proved to be the kill shot, giving the Nats a 3-1 victory.
Wednesday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates will send Mitch Keller (4.77 ERA, 4.05 FIP) to the mound. Keller will be looking to continue to pitch well and build upon his 2.97 ERA and 3.40 FIP in his last 33.1 innings pitched across his last 7 outings, 5 of which have been starts. Looking to complete the series sweep, the Nationals will send Paolo Espino (2.21 ERA, 3.60 FIP) to the mound. First pitch from Nationals Park is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.