Pirates Discussion: From Sprint to Limp into All-Star Break

Quintana wasn’t able to keep the recent streak of strong starting pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates alive. He was able to complete five innings, but while also giving up six earned runs to the Colorado Rockies.

I wasn’t expecting Cal Mitchell to be Jack Suwinski’s replacement, but early on he dazzled with one of the more majestic diving catches you’ll see.

Marisnick stayed hot, as he now has a hit in all five games since he returned from the IL.

For a moment at the beginning of the week, the Pirates found themselves on a win streak. It looked like they were going to go into break on a high note, but since late game three against the Miami Marlins, the script flipped.

Thankfully we have the draft coming up, but in the meantime, hopefully we’ll get to see Mitch Keller continue on what finally appears to be a breakthrough.

Pirates @ Rockies

Time: 3:10 PM EST

Pirates Starter: Mitch Keller (3-6, 4.88)

Rockies Starter: Jose Urena (0-1, 2.66)

Keller Notes: Keller is coming off one of the strongest performances of his career. Last time out, he managed to pitch seven innings for the first time in his career, while only allowing a single run to the Miami Marlins. This will be Keller’s 16th start of the season.

LINEUPS:

Pirates

Rockies

1. Connor Joe (R) RF
2. Kris Bryant (R) LF
3. Charlie Blackmon (L) DH
4. C.J. Cron (R) 1B
5. Brendan Rodgers (R) 2B
6. Ryan McMahon (L) 3B
7. Jose Iglesias (R) SS
8. Sam Hilliard (L) CF
9. Brian Serven (R) C

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PirateRican21

Down to vanmeter!

TNBucs

Another unnecessary dive by Gamel–glad Brown pointed out that there was a 95% catch probability.

john_fluharty

I kind of like how brownie was laughing at him. “Can you just imagine if that went over his head”.

TNBucs

He is overrated as a defender. Stats have him as slightly below average. Of the players who might bring back something, he’s tops on my list of players that I hope we trade (partly because I want to see Suwinski and/or Swaggerty and/or Madris back in the OF).

1979andCounting

Gamel has a very good RISP average. That should be of great interest to a contender.

john_fluharty

The thing that really bothers me about the situation we are in is that I just don’t see the evidence that the front office doesn’t want to win. If that was a case why not just play all young players and save a fortune. No, I think they actually think they have a better chance of winning with this collection of aging non-prospects playing instead of the youngsters. That doesn’t make me extremely optimistic about next year or the year after.

Wilbur Miller

I don’t know what they subjectively want, but if they think any of these guys improve their chances of winning games, they’re way too stupid to have any role in running a team. We already saw the offense get better when all the deadbeats were out. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t the embarrassment it is now.

CTBucco

They are not trying terribly hard to win this year, IMO. They are bringing up the kids some, giving them looks, trying to allow them to adjust and gain confidence while evaluating their ML potential, and going to far in trying to maximize the value of the vets they have in order to get something for them.

The last part is the big mistake. Trade them as soon as Super 2 concerns are over – if there are any takers – for a low-level flier or just cut them loose (ahem…JVM). But don’t keep playing them now hoping they’ll bring a decent return. No one is paying for Marisnick or Newman or JVM or Yoshi. And maybe not even Gamel.

PiratePrimate

I just can’t believe that. Are you telling me no would want Yoshi Tsutsugo or Jake Marisnick? What team wouldn’t want them? And I can’t imagine how much Josh VanMeter is worth on the open trade market. Tell me the truth, don’t you think some team would give us a used pitching machine for VanMeter?

CTBucco

If we paid his contract, maybe

chappy

My worry is I can’t tell what the heck they think they are doing this season.

TNBucs

My feeling too–they want to win, they’re just not very good at evaluating players and then getting the most out of the players they have.

john_fluharty

Keller is really starting to look like a real legit pitcher.

chappy

This is the one good thing from today’s game.

1979andCounting

Actually it’s just the continued roller coaster called Mitch Keller. Two very good outings after 2 very poor outings (nats and yanks).

john_fluharty

Even even during that rough outing versus the yanks it really didn’t look or feel like the old scared Keller.

Wilbur Miller

All this time we’ve been dying to see Keller pitch like this, and it’s wasted because GMBS and Dumbo can’t be bothered putting a major league team behind him.

1979andCounting

Kinda funny, Heineman takes 10 days off, comes back cold and gets 2 hits. What’s everyone else’s excuse?

john_fluharty

They haven’t rested for 10 days LOL

1979andCounting

Yes, get away from Haines for 10 days!

TNBucs

I just keep thinking of the justification they gave for firing Eckstein and hiring Haines–they wanted someone on the same page as Shelton.

Wilbur Miller

At least we know now where the real problem is.

Wilbur Miller

Bingo!

jon6er

Opposing teams appear to have no problems beating the shifts the Pirates use.

1979andCounting

Urena was perfect sinker ball signing by Rockies. Understandable the Brewers released him given their pitching depth. He’s pitched a great game being in Coors.

1979andCounting

Very good outing by Keller too.

hoptown

Tomorrow has to be Yoshi’s last day as a Pirate, right?! After the All Star break he should be DFAd. If Reynolds is healthy, he fills tbe spot. If not, Bae or Swaggerty can do it.

Wilbur Miller

Nope. They need him to keep their baserunners from getting tired. And they “have to get him going.” Dumbo said so.

chappy

Hayes against right-handlers? He should get dropped in the lineup until he proves he can hit them. Of course with a lineup like this, how far could you even drop him?

RAS TN

Nationals To Entertain Trade Offers For Juan Soto After He Rejects $440MM Offer…
Baseball is going to kill itself, to the greed and really lack of sufficient quality players to man the teams that exist… ROLLERBALL anyone…the movie

john_fluharty

The saddest thing to me is the days of an elite player staying with the same team his whole career are basically over. Teams with tons of money can do that but for teams like the Pirates it’ll probably never happen. Stargell was a pirate his whole career. Clemente was a pirate his whole career. I long for those days to return.

Last edited 2 months ago by john_fluharty
TNBucs

To emphasize this, under today’s economic system the Pirates would have been unlikely to have kept Stargell for his MVP season in 1979 and Clemente probably wouldn’t have been with the team in 1971.

Nowadays many of us lobby for trading guys like Marte, McCutchen, or Reynolds prior their declining years. And it’s true that Cutch has been barely above replacement level the last few years, but it’s sad that we don’t see these types of players spend their entire careers with the Pirates.

Todd

Can’t wait ’til August 2-maybe they will dump all those AAAA that are here being God-awful big leaguers so we can lose with rookies.

piratemike

Look at that lineup, don’t know whether to laugh or barf.

postal911

It’s a shame that the plan was to not spend and tank. They could have spent $10 million and gotten 2 solid trustworthy bullpen arms to make this pen pretty good. Instead the Pirates are among the leaders with blown saves and they have pretty much blown out the arm of Bednar by over using him. A few more wins won’t make much of a difference record wise, but I would think losing games because of the pen and all the games where they have given up 10+ runs(I feel like the Pirates must lead the league in giving up 10 or more) has to be soul crushing for the young players.

TNBucs

I think a really smart move at the deadline would be to trade a prospect or two for bullpen help that is controllable through at least next season. That might help protect Bednar’s and Crowe’s arms while setting us up for success next year. We should be a buyer and seller this deadline.

skliesen

Especially smart to deal away players at risk of losing in rule 5 draft next winter for a player who can help this year and next.

postal911

I agree. Be creative this deadline and package some of these guys to fill holes. I would imagine there might be a log jam of guys to protect.

Wilbur Miller

Ben & Derry plan for the second half

TNBucs

The core of why I don’t think Shelton is the guy I want leading the Pirates:

After Tuesday’s win his opening quote was:

“That was about as well as we could script it,” Shelton said. “Getting Peters the window and getting him through, and then with where Beede came into the game, I don’t think we could have scripted it any better.”

After Wednesday’s loss his opening quote was:

“We didn’t execute pitches at the end of game…we just did not execute pitches.”

Wins–credit to him and his coaches. Losses–blame on the players. He’s a more fun version of Tracy, my least favorite Pirates manager.

I want to like Shelton but the lack of accountability gets in the way. Maybe someone can share quotes that paint a different picture, but this is what I see when I read game stories.

RAS TN

The draft as in previous years is just another distraction from the real issue which is the state of the MLB club…

For all the hype about the farm system the actual teams in the minor league’s actual suck

The last 2 #1 picks have played little and the one that has played a bit has shown nothing the other prefers to be a human pin cushion and his injuries could come back to haunt him and the Pirates…

TNBucs

It is a distraction. In 2013-2015 I spent very little time reading about the draft :). Now, it’s back to winter meetings, the opening of the international signing period, the draft, and the trade deadline…

TNBucs

The Pirates are my distraction from so many things going on in the world; the draft is my distraction from the Pirates (play on the field).

Just part of a series of distractions 🙂

RAS TN

That’s exactly what the Pirates want to happen wave that shiny new toy in front of the masses and that will make them happy, let them eat cake, but meanwhile, back at the ranch, the footers and sill plates are all rotten…

RAS TN

Not criticizing anyone in particular, but sooner or later there comes a reckoning and I feel that day is really close for the Pgh Pirates…it’s just sad for the City and the fans…

JimEastTennessee

It seems like the last several years they have been looking for a Brian Giles that was just blocked at AAA…Now, the Pirates seem to be doing the blocking. It will be very telling if some DFA’s don’t happen 1st week of August.

RAS TN

There lies the issue of control…stop worrying about that and develop the players and play them if they are ready regardless. How many if any will actually want to or the Pirates be able to resign when the time comes, history tells me that anyone of the prospects that shine, the Pirates will move on from them well before there is a control issue…

Wilbur Miller

If they’re not ready now, it’s because they’re crappy prospects, in which case the problem is even more serious.

The “not ready yet” meme has always struck me as misguided. It’s based on the idea that, if you just leave a guy in AAA long enough, he’ll eventually reach the point where he won’t struggle in the majors. I don’t buy that. Some guys adapt right away and some need highly variable amounts of time. The trick isn’t leaving the prospect in AAA “until he’s ready,” it’s deciding correctly when the point has been reached that he’s not going to adapt any further.

Timbertopper

Well said, Wilbur!

JimEastTennessee

Ya know Wilbur, no one will ever mistake you for Polly Anna  😉  but I agree with you.

Are the 1st wave we see hitting the North Shore this year more than utility and/or journeymen in the long run? EVERYONE on this team still has question marks except Reynolds and Hayes (and Hayes is fine with me, even if he never hits much more). Bednar’s arm…? Cruz…splits? Suwinski…consistency. Keller…maybe. He IS trending up, but I was at his first game in Cinncinnati; I am still shell-shocked.

But, you know what? I think this is a good team by late ’23.
Need to hit on some 5 WARs not a bunch of 1.50s

john_fluharty

I don’t know – Wilbur may have a new nickname now.

JimEastTennessee

bucsws2014

Bucs should play more games on Apple.tv so I won’t be tempted to watch.

Jake can get his OPS over .700 today, lol.

docdon385

Last night’s game was obviously a disaster but the Pirates could have, dare I say should have, swept the Marlins if only their short relievers had performed as expected. It’s not the time to become pessimistic about everything again and just wait for some kind of draft magic to keep hopes alive.

Like most fans I wish they were playing more of the younger guys because that would be more interesting, but maybe at least some of reason for keeping baseball skill challenged veterans on the team is to keep the younger players from getting too down on themselves when stuff like this happens. Veterans know, or at least should know, that baseball is an ebb and flow game and winning is as much about persistence as anything. Management should be responsible for doing this but…well let’s just say that’s another challenged group.

I still think this team is headed in the right direction. There will be some twisty and bumpy roads ahead before they get there but the compass needle, or these days the GPS, is pointing the right way if only they can stay on the road.

TNBucs

but the Pirates could have, dare I say should have, swept the Marlins if only their short relievers had performed as expected.”

I’d qualify this to place some responsibility on Shelton’s usage of those relievers. Bednar and Crowe are near the top of MLB (Crowe at the very top, Bednar at the top among closers) in usage and when that’s the case you can’t expect the same results. Otherwise, every manager would just keep running out their best and our two wouldn’t stand out.

Speaking of which, I’ll predict the Orioles are going to fall back. Not much of a limb there (normal regression would predict as much :)), but the other team that stands out in high use of their best relievers is the O’s, so unless they pick up some fresh arms at the deadline, I don’t see how their pitching will hold up. Hoping it does though as it would be great story (plus put some pressure on our FO that a rebuild can come together quickly).

As for our two high-usage relievers, I’d use Crowe and Bednar at most once this weekend and hope that combined with the break is enough to reset things for a strong rest of the season.

Source supporting my comments (relievers ranked by total batters faced):

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=y&type=c,4,5,11,7,8,13,-1,36,37,40,43,44,48,51,-1,240,-1,6,332,45,62,-1,59,14&season=2022&month=0&season1=2022&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2022-01-01&enddate=2022-12-31&sort=22,d

Wilbur Miller

The bullpen had help blowing those games, lots of it, from the team’s “hitters.”

bscat

upvote the quotation marks!

TNBucs

And speaking of this, is there any evidence that Haines is an improvement as a hitting coach? Evidently, we’re more comfortable sending down a player to work on his swing than we are with our major league coach working with him.

TNBucs

Yeah, it would be nice if we could play with more of a cushion more frequently. There have been a couple of times Shelton went to Crowe or Bednar with bigger leads with the excuse that they’re already warm but most of the time I’m sure it is hard to not go with your best, even at the risk of overuse, when you’re trying to protect a 1-run or 2-run lead.

chappy

Last night’s lineup and, almost, predictable result, was demoralizing.

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