Just when it looked like the Pittsburgh Pirates may be threatening to get back on track, they've lost three games in a row
The Pittsburgh Pirates are bad. That's not surprising to hear. What makes it tough to hear is the start this team got off to this season. 20-8. A National League best 20-8. But, hey, Ben Cherington's internal projections said they'd be a 4th place team.
When your internal projections say you'll be a 4th place team why even try? Just take your losses and prove yourself correct. That's the outlook Cherington has.
Monday night the Pirates fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2. With the loss, the Pirates have now lost four games in a row to fall to 39-45 on the season. This loss came in game one of a very challenging seven-game road trip where 0-7 is a real possibility.
Early opportunities wasted
Prior to the start of the game Clayton Kershaw was put on the injured list. Due to this, the struggling Michael Grove was thrusted into a starting role for the Dodgers. Well, believe it or not, he would keep the Pirate offense at bay.
Grove keeping the Pirate offense in check was in spite of the Pirates having plenty of early opportunities.
Carlos Santana doubled to start the second inning and went to third base on a wild pitch. Well, Henry Davis struck out and Santana was thrown out at the plate on a Nick Gonzales ground out. Later in the inning, Gonzales scored on a Jared Triolo single and Austin Hedges reached on an infield hit to load the bases. Josh Palacios then struck out to end the inning.
Even though the Pirates grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning, they should have scored more runs.
Bryan Reynolds walked to start the 3rd inning and Jack Suwinski was hit by pitch. With two runners on base and no one out, Santana hit into a double play and Davis grounded out to end the inning. Gonzales reached on an infield hit to start the 4th inning but was thrown out trying to steal a bag. A caught stealing that occurred due to Gonzales trying to do too much.
Following the caught stealing, Triolo walked. This should have put two runners on base with just one out. Odds are it all would have been a moot point considering Hedges, who flew out to end the innings, was one deck and Palacios in the hole.
Through 4 innings the Pirates easily could have had more than 1 run. Yet, there they were, with just 1 run and trailing 2-1.
Mitch Keller struggles
In his first start since being named a National League All-Star for the first time in his career, Mitch Keller took his lumps against the Dodgers. Despite being handed an early 1-0 lead, Keller could not keep the Dodgers in check.
With the Pirates leading 1-0 in the 2nd inning Keller allowed a home run to Max Muncy. This was the first of a pair of runs allowed by Keller in the 2nd inning. Hitting the Dodger eight hitter with a pitch and allowing a run-scoring double in the 4th inning proved costly. Keller then allowed 2 more rusn in the 5th.
Keller pitched 5 innings, allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on eight hits, a walk, and seven strikeouts. Keller also hit a batter and allowed a home run. His All-Star ERA went from 3.34 to 3.52 with the start on Monday night.
The struggling Luis Ortiz (4.11 ERA, 5.67 FIP) is set to start for the Pirates on Tuesday night. Young righty Emmet Sheehand (2.65 ERA, 4.11 FIP) who Ben Cherington can not figure out how he is being successful after having zero appearances at Triple-A and just 14 at Double-A will start for the Dodgers. First pitch from Dodger Stadium is scheduled for 9:10 PM ET.