Pittsburgh Pirates: Quinn Priester Struggles in MLB Debut, Bucs Lose 4th in a Row

The Pirates are now 0-4 since the All-Star Break

Jul 17, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan (middle)
Jul 17, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan (middle) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Quinn Priester struggled mightily in his MLB debut as the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to slide with yet another loss

Monday night was one that featured a few different types of debuts. Unfortunately, it was also a night that featured yet another loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Following an 11-0 loss against the Cleveland Guardians, the Pirates are now 0-4 since the All-Star Break.

With this loss, the Pirates are now 41-53 on the season. This continues their woeful slide of the past 12 weeks, which has now saw the Pirates go 21-45 in their last 66 games. That's a 51-111 pace the past 12 weeks. Woof.

If there was a positive, it's that the Pirates finally appear committed to the youth movement.

This game was the first time since April of 1954 that the Pirates had as many as six players in their starting lineup with 25 games of MLB experience or less. Monday night was also the first time since October 3rd, 1946, that the Pirate starting pitcher and catcher were both making their MLB debuts.

Quinn Priester struggles in his MLB debut

Among the debuting Pirate players on Monday night was starting pitcher Quinn Priester. The organization's first-round pick from 2019 was making his first MLB start. While Priester flashed some positives, he also continued to battle some of his struggles from the minor leagues.

Early on, things were going well for Priester. Generating weak contact and inducing a lot of ground balls, Priester retired the first nine batters he faced. After the 3rd inning, things would start to go south for Priester.

Priester issued a walk to start the 4th inning and allowed a 2-run home run to Amed Rosario. He did bounce back to retire the next three batters to end the 4th. Priester recorded his first two career strikeouts, but also allowed a two-out run-scoring double to Bo Naylor in the 5th inning. This made the score 3-0 Cleveland.

In the 6th inning, the wheels completely fell off the cart.

Single, double, double, home run, ground out, single. Just like that it was 7-0 Guardians, they had a runner on second base with no one out, and Priester's day had come to an end.

Priester pitched 5.1 innings, allowing 7 runs on seven hits, two walks, two home runs allowed, and just two strikeouts. The 22-year-old threw 47 of his 73 pitches for strikes while generating just seven swings-and-misses. He did, however, induce 11 ground ball outs.

Pirate offensive struggles continue

With two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning Andrew McCutchen doubled, Carlos Santana drew a walk, and the Pirates looked primed to draw first blood. Well, Henry Davis would hit a 108 MPH line drive right at center fielder Steven Kwan.

The Davis line out ended the Pirate threat and was the start of Cleveland pitching, despite it being a bullpen game, settling in.

The two other debuts in addition to Priester were highly touted catching prospect Endy Rodriguez who was making his MLB debut. Infield prospect Liover Peguero made his 2023 debut, starting at shortstop. Rodriguez went 0-for-4 at the plate and Peguero was 0-for-3.

Next up

Mitch Keller (3.31 ERA, 3.35 FIP) will make his first start since before the All-Star Break for the Pirates in game two of this series. Lefty Logan Allen (3.47 ERA, 3.72 FIP) is set to rejoin Cleveland's rotation. First pitch from PNC Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

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