Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Strong Mike Burrows Start Wasted as Bullpen Implodes

Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Mike Burrows (53) poses for photos
Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Mike Burrows (53) poses for photos / Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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Mike Burrows turned in a strong start, but another bullpen meltdown led to a loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate the Indianapolis Indians on Sunday afternoon

The minor league season is off to a poor start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their only minor league affiliate that has played a game thus far is the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Following an 8-3 loss against the Omaha Storm Chasers on Sunday, the Indians are 0-3 after being swept in their season opening series.

For the third time in as many games the Indian bullpen struggled. Indy held a 3-1 lead entering the 8th inning, but the bullpen would then come unglued leading to the lopsided loss.

Righty Mike Burrows started for Indy on Sunday and turned in a terrific start in his 2023 debut. In 5 innings pitched, Burrows allowed a solo home run, a single, he walked a pair, and he struck a batter out.

Burrows joining the Pirate rotation this season will be a question of when not if. If Sunday's start for Burrows is any sign of things to come then the when will be sooner rather than later. Robert Stephenson was first up out of the Indy bullpen as he continues his rehab assignment, he allowed a hit, walked a batter, and struck a batter out in 2/3 scoreless. John O'Reilly then replaced Stephenson to get the final out of the 6th inning.

Lefty J.C. Flowers allowed a hit in a scoreless 7th inning. Flowers returned to the mound in the 8th inning, and allowed a home run and a single before being lifted for fellow left Daniel Zamora. Things did not go any better for Zamora who faced eight batters, allowing three hits, including a home run, while hitting a batter.

While Zamora was pitching second baseman Aaron Shackelford committed a fielding error, causing just 4 of the 5 runs allowed by Zamora to be earned. Another lefty, Cam Alldred, replaced Zamora, and allowed a double and issued a walk before ending the 8th inning. Alldred then allowed a single in a scoreless 9th inning pitched.

All 3 Indianapolis runs were scored in the 2nd inning. Nick Gonzales homered to start the inning, Chavez Young then hit a 2-run triple scoring Shackelford and Cal Mitchell. However, that would be it for runs scored on the day.

Mark Mathias capped off his strong opening series by going 2-for-5 while playing in right field. Shortstop Tucupita Marcano was 3-for-5 with a double, Travis Swaggerty was in center field going 1-for-4 with a walk, and Endy Rodriguez was 1-for-5.

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