Pittsburgh Pirates: Poor Defense, Bullpen Struggles Lead to Yet Another Loss
By Marty Leap
Things continue to absoltuely snowball on the Pittsburgh Pirates who are now 1-10 in their last 11 games played following a 6-3 loss against the Baltimore Orioles
Well, the Pittsburgh Pirates are back to being, well, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Following a 6-3 loss against the Baltimore Orioles on Firday night, the Pirates are now 1-10 in their last 11 games played. This stretch has dropped the Pirates to 21-18 on the season.
When this stretch started the Pirates owned a National League best 20-8 record. Now, they look like a team incapable of winning MLB games. This loss marked the 11th straight game in which the Pirates scored 3 or less runs, and in nine of those 11 games they have scored 2 runs or less.
There are no positives about this team right now, so we will not even waste our time looking for them in this game. If you like sunshine and rainbow BS then just leave now. This team sucks right now and there is no reason to believe thinks will improve any time soon.
Bucs lose lead in the 6th inning
Leading off the bottom of the 6th inning Ryan Mountcastle hit a ball toward the right field line. Connor Joe went into a slide to attempt to catch the ball, but he failed to make the catching leading to a triple. This came with the Pirates leading 1-0.
Following the hit Derek Shelton challenged the play even though it was pretty clear the ball was fair. The call was upheld, and the Pirates lost their challenge. After Johan Oviedo walked Adam Frazier, his night ended with the Pirates leading 1-0 but runners on the corners for Baltimore with no one out.
Dauri Moreta took over for Oviedo. After recording a strikeout, he got ahead in the count to Gunnar Henderson 0-2. Moreta then threw a pitch in the dirt looking for a chase. Well, supposed defensive wizard Austin Hedges couldn’t find the ball allowing the run to score. Henderson then hit what would have been a tailor made inning ending double play ball.
That closed the book on Oviedo who allowed 1 run in 5+ innings pitched. Oviedo allowed four hits, walked five, and struck out three.
Although Oviedo struggled with his control throughout the start he was also a bit snake bitten with the run he allowed. Mountcastle’s triple had an expected batting average of .020. Plus, there was the pitch in the dirt by Moreta snafu.
Rodolfo Castro is not a shortstop
I like Rodolfo Castro. I like him a lot. I like him a lot more than most fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates do. That said, Castro is not a shortstop. Friday not it once again showed why Castro needs to be at second base with Chris Owings at shortstop.
With the game tied at 2 and two outs in the 7th inning, Mountcastle hit a ground ball that just barely snuck under the glove of Castro at short. This was a ball that Castro needed to at least stop to keep the ball in the infield and prevent a run from scoring.
The dribbler that Mountcastle hit scored the game's go ahead run and made it 3-2 Orioles. With Owings at shortstop, odds are, the ball is at least stopped and kept in the infield. This would have kept the score at 2-2 and given the Pirates a chance to get out of the inning still tied.
Duane Underwood Jr. melts down in late innings
Derek Shelton showed a lot of faith in Jose Hernandez by going to him with a 2-1 lead in the 7th inning. Hernandez allowed back-to-back one out doubles to tie the game, but this did not make Shelton's decision a poor one. Hernandez has pitched extremely well this season and just had an off night.
Duane Underwood Jr. replaced Hernandez and, well, he was terrible. After Underwood Jr. allowed the go ahead run to score in the 7th inning, he allowed a 3-run home run to Cedric Mullins in the 8th inning. This completed the cycle for Mullins and made the score 6-2 Orioles, putting the game on ice for Baltimore.
9th inning rally falls short
Austin Voth started the 9th for the Orioles and threw seven straight balls. He then allowed back-to-back singles, cutting the O's lead to 6-3 and putting Pirate runners on the corners with no body out. At this point, Baltimore manager Carlos Hyde went to Felix Bautista.
While Bautista got a lot of help from home plate umprie James Hoye, he proceeded to strikeout all three batters he faced. The Pirates could not even put a ball in play against Bautista to score a runner from third with no one out. Woof.
Game two of this series will see Roansy Contreras (4.74 ERA, 3.94 FIP) start for the Pirates. Righty Tyler Wells (3.15 ERA, 4.96 FIP) is the next pitcher that gets the chance to improve their numbers by facing a Pirate lineup that is putrid right now. First pitch in the likely next Pirate loss is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET from Camden Yards.