Two defensive miscues in the infield proved to be costly for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Monday night’s loss at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs
After starting player after the All-Star Break by dropping two of three at PNC Park against the Miami Marlins, the Pittsburgh Pirates went to the road on Monday night. Their destination was Wrigley Field in Chicago for a quick two-game series and road trip against the Chicago Cubs.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates got strong pitching on Monday night, they were unable to capitalize in a frustrating 3-2 loss against the Chicago Cubs. The loss saw a pair of costly defensive miscues by the Pirate infield prove costly. With the loss, the Pirates are now 40-57 on the season, and just half a game ahead of the Cubs for third place in the NL Central.
JT Brubaker’s ERA drops below 4.00
After back-to-back poor starts for JT Brubaker to begin his 2022 season, he has turned things around. Brubaker continues tot run in one strong start after another, including Monday night’s start which finally dropped his ERA on the season below 4.00.
Brubaker got some help behind him on Tuesday night, including this spectacular catch by Ben Gamel.
However, he was also hurt by some poor defense. In the 2nd inning Josh VanMeter failed to field a ball cleanly that he should have had for an out. While it has yet to be ruled an error, that will likely change. This would change Brubaker’s stat line from 2 earned runs allowed to just 1.
For now, Brubaker’s final line on Monday night is 2 earned runs allowed eight hits, two walks, a home run and 4 strikeouts in 6+ innings pitched. With the outing Brubaker now owns a 3.96 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in exactly 100 innings pitched across 19 starts. Brubaker continues to look like a pitcher who quietly developing into a strong no. 3 or no. 4 starting pitcher in the major leagues.
8th inning Oneil Cruz error proves costly
Since being promoted to the major leagues Oneil Cruz has played a strong defensive shortstop. Entering play on Monday night he had committed just three errors to go with a +6 Defensive Runs Saved in 241.2 innings played at shortstop.
With one out in the 8th inning on Monday night Cruz would commit his fourth error since being promoted. Unfortunately, this error proved to be costly. His throwing error allowed Seiya Suzuki to reach base. Suzuki would then score on a two-out double by Nico Hoerner. This gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish.
Despite this error, Cruz has been a pleasant surprise on defense since being promoted. The biggest concern/knock on Cruz in the minors was defense. Thus far, his defense has been a strength. Monday night’s error does not change that.
Pirate offense struggles
Facing former Pirate farmhand Adrian Sampson, who has one of the worst HR/9 in MLB history, the Pirate offense failed to generate much at the plate on Monday night. While the Pirate collected eight hits, they scored just a pair of runs. The runs came on a RBI single by Cruz, who went 2-for-4 on the night, in the 2nd inning and a 5th inning RBI double by VanMeter.
Pirate batters were just 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They stranded seven runners on base in the loss. This continued a historically poor season for the Pirate offense with runners in scoring position.
Game two of the quick trip to Chicago is scheduled for 2:20 PM ET on Tuesday afternoon. Bryse Wilson (6.52 ERA, 4.90 FIP) will start for the Pittsburgh Pirates as he looks to turn in his third consecutive strong start. Righty Keegan Thompson (3.43 ERA, 3.77 FIP) is slated to take the mound for the Chicago Cubs.