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Monday, December 5, 2022

Pirates Discussion: Sweep For Sweep

The Pittsburgh Pirates go into an off day having been swept by the New York Mets just after sweeping the Cincinnati Reds.

Things don’t look to get any easier having to now visit the New York Yankees for three games beginning on Tuesday.

Sunday’s finale went about as expected with the Pirates offense having to face off against Jacob deGrom. The Pirates were having issues getting bat to ball striking out 13 times against deGrom in five innings.

The bright spot was when Oneil Cruz connected on a 2-2 slider just below the zone and hit it 391 FT to right center 111 MPH off the bat. It was a three run shot that accounted for all of the Pirates offense on the day with Zack Collins and Jason Delay having both singled ahead of Cruz.

The three run HR had tied the game at the time with starter Johan Oviedo already exited after  four innings giving up three earned runs of his own. Coming off a five inning shutout of the Reds, Oviedo found it difficult to navigate the Mets offense. 71 of his 84 pitches were either a 4-seam fastball or slider. He’s going to need to either work on his fastball or move to another iteration as he’s not finding much success other than throwing it very hard.

Of the 38 fastballs that Oviedo threw, he generated only 15 swings with three whiffs and then seven called strikes. Six of the swings involved balls put in play with an average exit velocity of 92.8 MPH. All of these numbers aren’t going to lead to much success for a pitcher that leans heavily on his 4-seam fastball.

Oviedo’s slider on the other hand has shown some promise. He threw a total of 33 sliders that generated 21 swings with eight whiffs and five called strikes.  There were five balls put in play with an average exit velocity of 85.4 MPH, which is roughly three MPH lower than league average EV.

The final line for Oviedo on the night was four innings with five hits, four walks, and three earned runs to go with six strike outs. Oviedo did also hit Pete Alonso in the first inning, which Alonso did not like very much leading to the benches being cleared. Nothing came of it as I imagine Jeff McNeil was telling Alonso on his way to 1B that he should keep walking unless he wanted to become Oviedo’s Robin Ventura to Nolan Ryan.

The rest of the game involved the usual suspects out of the bullpen. Wil Crowe kicked off the fifth inning and completed two innings on just 20 pitches. He’s now up to 73.2 IP on the season. Crowe was also the only pitcher to not give up any runs on the evening.

Robert Stephenson pitched the seventh and kept the game a 3-3 tie at the time. Stephenson came back out for the eighth when it would take three relievers (Stephenson included) to finish off the inning. After giving up a leadoff single Stephenson was replaced by Manny Banuelos.

Pinch runner Terrance Gore stole 2B and moved to third on a Delay throwing error, and then scored the go ahead run on Banuelos from a RBI single. Manny struck out Francisco Lindor and then walked the next batter, ending his evening for Duane Underwood Jr. to come in. Underwood walked the bases loaded and then gave up a two-run single moving the score to 6-3. Cruz’s 12th error and a RBI ground out later it was 7-3 which would be the final score.

Stephenson was charged with an earned run. Banuelos charged with two earned runs and Underwood with an unearned run.

Surprisingly six of the seven runs the Mets scored were earned even with the Pirates defense committing four errors on the evening. This was to go along with striking out a grand total of 20 times.

It’s probably a good time for a day off.

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Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.


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Some things I hope to see over the last Hand full of games-

-less Gamel please. No reason to keep
Playing him at this point. Give young OF’ers the remainder of the season

-speaking of OF’ers, maybe consider calling up Swaggerty and give him some real AB’s. Suwinski is an absolute mess right now and might need some time to regroup.

-continued growth from the young starters including Ortiz.

-BC and his staff emphasize finding some off-season targets that can control the strike zone. Successful teams continually work the count and make pitchers work. We do not currently have that guy in our lineup


BnP, what are your thoughts on jack? He looks just lost up there right now, though clearly hes got power and solid OF defense, more AAA seasoning is the move imo


Jack was 5 -12 with 2 HRs vs Cardinals last weekend. Then 7 games of 0-fer. I think this is maybe just who Jack is…..hot….then cold. Like Cruz, that’s why I see merit to keeping him on the 28-man and just let him get his ABs the last 3 weeks. Maybe a day off once in awhile…..Shelton’s been running him out there every single day!

Wilbur Miller

I don’t see Cruz and Suwinski as being similar at all. Cruz is improving rapidly. Over his last 24 games, his OPS is .932. Since June 21, which covers 44 games, Jack’s OPS is .524. Since he came back up, it’s .475. There’s no sign that he’s learning anything at all.


You’re cherry picking here as there is nothing to suggest Cruz is actually improving. A deeper look at his numbers over the last 3-4 weeks suggest this production is NOT sustainable.

In reality, each player has had ONE really good month. Suwinski’s 27 games in June vs Cruz’s last 24 in Aug/Sept.

But I agree with the overall assessment, Jack looks completely overwhelmed. There is no reason he should be getting ABs right now.

Wilbur Miller

It’s just so hard to see any sense, even bad sense, in so many of these idiots’ decisions. Jack goes into an 0-for-29 slump where he’s checking his swing on every other pitch, goes to AAA and isn’t much better there, then comes back and falls into an 0-for-24 stretch with 13 Ks. This doesn’t even qualify as “struggling.” It’s more like, “needs to learn how to hit all over again.” If it wasn’t too late, I’d say send him to Altoona.

I used to see Dave Littlefield as the epitome of the incompetent GM, but I’m not sure I do any more. Is Cheringtoon just following orders? Has the cheapskate decided there’s a big, untapped market for selling jerseys to Polish folks? Whatever is behind a decision like this, baseball clearly doesn’t play any role whatsoever.


The fear of a Pirate prospect struggling as bad as Jack is always comes down in my mind as is it a Pirate player development thing or a player development thing. The track record here isn’t so great.


I tend to agree here. These decisions have mostly occurred with non-core prospects. Maybe this was just an experiment in a throwaway year, i.e., we like these certain traits, let’s see if they can translate into MLB production.


My theory / thoughts are that Jack was the available body when the Pirates all of a sudden needed an outfielder. I forget the scenario but it appeared at that time they could’t clear a 40 man spot (nobody hurt bad enough for 60 day injury) and needed somebody to shag flies and Jack was on the 40 man. In hindsight they may have been thinking a week to 10 days in the majors and Jack goes back to AA. But what now looks unfortunate, Jack hit and earned staying in the majors. Now he is a total mess. It appears everybody might have been better off if he would have hit a homer, hit about .150 and quietly went back to AA to keep developing. Having said that, I agree with just about everybody that I don’t understand the logic at all on bringing him back up to the majors since he was not hitting in AAA. As much as I hate to see infielders playing outfield, I would have preferred some prospect infielder (who maybe can kind of play outfield) getting the Jack at bats.


I to would like to see Swaggerty play up here.


For me, it’s only fitting that Judge hits at least 2 HR’s against the Pirates. They might as well be a part of something this year since they screwed up yesterday, they only needed one more K to break the record for a game…

Wilbur Miller

But if he does, shouldn’t it get an asterisk?




Yikes. 4 errors and 20 ks. I picked a good one to miss. Hopefully a few heads roll soon…


Other than Roansy, Keller and Cruz there is really no reason to watch another game this year. Well, maybe to watch which player will pull another embarrassing stunt.

Wilbur Miller

It’s a shame you can’t redact players from telecasts. I’d redact everyone but Ro, Cruz, Castro, Keller, Mitchell and Ortiz.

I swear I remember a scifi movie, or maybe a Black Mirror episode or something, where people could be “deleted,” so other people couldn’t see or hear them. I’d love to delete Hodge ‘n Podge to start with.

b mcferren

those are three good reasons to watch


Well I wanna see Ortiz for one. But yeah it’s getting tough


Tuning in to try and catch Cruz bat is about the only interesting part of the games at this point. Unless they decide to get rid of the current crop of dead weight and bring up more prospects the remainder of the season is not going to be much fun to watch.

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