Pittsburgh Pirates Grapefruit League: Vince Velasquez Struggles Against the Orioles
Vince Velasquez's spring woes continued as the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday afternoon
With less than two weeks left in their Grapefruit League season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were on the road once again on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates traveled to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota where they did battle with the Baltimore Orioles.
Sunday afternoon's matchup saw the Orioles defeat the Pirates by a score of 8-0. With the loss, the Pirates are now 7-13-3 in Grapefruit League action.
Vince Velasquez hit hard
Vince Velasquez started for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday and took his lumps. The veteran righty pitched 4+ innings, allowing 7 runs on seven hits, four walks, two home runs, and three strikeouts. He now owns a 8.00 ERA this spring.
Velasquez started the 5th inning, but was pulled after allowing a double and issuing a walk. Dauri Moreta took over for Velasquez, and, despite retiring the first two batters he faced, failed to strand the runners he inherited tagging Velasquez with 7 earned runs.
Obviously, spring training stats always need to be taken with a grain of salt. However, seeing Velasquez struggle is less than encouraging. Especially with his career track record as a starting pitcher. Velasquez's best home is in the bullpen, but all signs point toward him starting the season the Pirate rotation.
Poor offensive day for the Pirates
Derek Shelton's starting nine on Sunday afternoon consisted of nine players who will likely be on the team's Opening Day roster. The only two players in the starting lineup who are not locks for the Opening Day roster were Connor Joe and Ji-Hwan Bae.
Despite having a strong lineup for spring training standards, it did not equate to success for the Pirate bats. Oneil Cruz, Bryan Reynolds, Austin Hedges, Joe, and Bae all went a combined 0-for-12 at the plate.
Travis Swaggerty drew a walk in his lone trip to the plate as he continues to get on base at a high clip this spring. Ke'Bryan Hayes hit a double, Ji-Man Choi and Carlos Santana each had a base hit as well. Carter Bins picked up a pinch hit single in his lone trip to the plate.
Roansy Contreras back from the WBC
Making his first appearance in Grapefruit League action since returning to the Pirates after pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, Roansy Contreras took the mound in the 6th inning.
Contreras pitched 3 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed three hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out four. This outing built off a dominant performance from Contreras in the WBC. Ro looks primed to really put together a breakout campaign with the Pirates this season.
Monday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Ft. Myers to play the Boston Red Sox. Righty Luis Ortiz is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the Red Sox plan to send Garrett Whitlock to the mound to start the game.