The Dodgers had a quite a day. They learned all about Ro Day, found out that the bottom of the Pirates’ order can be very annoying, and watched the Pirates run wild on the bases. And they lost to the Pirates, 8-1.
Roansy Contreras held LA hitless until Austin Wynns led off the sixth with a single. After Contreras fanned Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman singled to put two on, but Contreras got the next two batters to fly out.
The only other Dodger threat came an inning earlier, on a walk and a one-out steal. Contreras ended it by striking out last night’s villain, Chris Taylor, and getting a fly out.
Contreras left after six shutout innings, having thrown 87 pitches. He gave up the two hits and two walks, and fanned five.
The Pirates didn’t get off to a much better start against Tony Gonsolin, who was making his season debut. They didn’t get a hit until Jason Delay singled with one out in the third. Ke’Bryan Hayes walked, but newly minted rich guy Bryan Reynolds grounded into a double play.
Another chance went by the boards in the fourth. A double steal by Jack Suwinski and mysterious speedster Carlos Santana put runners on second and third with two outs, but Rodolfo Castro couldn’t come through.
Finally, in the fifth, the Bucs got runners to the corners with one out on a Ji-Hwan Bae single, a steal, a sacrifice and another walk to Hayes. This time Reynolds drilled a single to center. Then Andrew McCutchen, who’s been bedeviled all season by hard-hit outs, dumped a bloop into shallow right for a second run.
In the sixth, Castro got a double on a one-out bloop, took third on another single by Bae, and scored when Delay singled off the pitcher’s glove.
The Pirates added on — always a good idea against an explosive team like the Dodgers — in the seventh. They loaded the bases with one out, but Connor Joe, who’s suddenly having an extremely difficult time, hit into a force at the plate. Castro, though, singled to drive in two. Bae followed that with another hit, but Tucupita Marcano was thrown out at the plate. Except, no, catcher Austin Wynns, who was already 0-for-4 against Pirate base stealers, got called after replay for blocking the plate. Then Delay lined one right on the chalk down the left field line for a two-run double. (Rob Manfred is probably right now trying to dream up rules to prevent low-revenue teams from getting “lucky” hits.)
The Pirates had gone with Robert Stephenson for the top of the seventh, but the big bottom half probably changed the rest of the pitching plans. Dauri Moreta made his first appearance in ages in the eighth and gave up a two-out bomb to Freeman. But he bounced back to strike out the Dodgers’ last four batters.
The bottom three in the Pirates’ order — Castro, Bae and Delay — combined for eight hits, four runs, four of the Pirates’ six steals, and six RBIs. Delay was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and is now batting .368. Bae had three steals.
And Drew Maggi made his major league debut, batting for Cutch in the ninth. It could have gone better. He got called for a clock violation and then chased a bad one for a strikeout.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.
Marin is to sliders as Ray is to sinkers.
Man, they can all spin one hell of a slider, sans Hill.
Starting to feel like we’re going to have a special season.
I’ve been watching baseball for 50+ years, and I know what a good team looks like. The Pirates look like a good team.
Good pitching. Good defense most games. Smart aggressive base running. Good enough hitting. Really good Closer.
If anything, the bullpen may not be quite good enough. And we’ll have to see how the SP holds up over 162.
But for those who expect the Pirates to falter just because they were expected to be bad, it’s time to shift expectations.
Agreed that the pen feels like biggest potential weakness right now. Love bednar, and am intrigued by holdermann, hernandez, stephenson. DUJ is a known quantity. Bolton could be decent and depending how the next few months go, could see either ortiz or VV in the pen down the stretch with the other in the rotation…0
It seemed clear all along that they were gonna need to do a lot of experimenting. I figured what mattered was not having exactly the right guys on day one, it was having depth and the willingness to keep trying different guys in different roles.
Of course, now it seems more urgent because they’re 17-8.
In any event, imo it’s time to trust R5 guy with some leverage jobs. He’ll probably blow a couple, but there’s a big potential reward down the road. Maybe not far, either.
That’s my concern – the pen. Outside of Bednar, I really don’t trust any of ’em.
Nice bounce-back win for the Pirates…
Ro had what I call a super-quality start, one that meets the criteria for a quality start plus the number of K’s >= baserunners allowed.
Anyone know how they were able to challenge both 1st and 2nd base calls at the same time and still not lose the challenge despite one being confirmed? So as long as it’s the same play, you can challenge multiple at the same time? And as long as one is overturned, you retain the challenge?
Yes. “A Manager may challenge as many reviewable calls within a single play as he desires using one challenge. The club retains its Manager challenge if the replay official overturns any challenged call (even if he upholds other challenged calls), and loses its manager challenge if no calls are overturned”
Ah. Thank you! Thought the 2nd base review wasn’t necessary at all but I guess why not!
Learning something new everyday… 🤓
Just passed the 15% mark of the season still carrying an unexpected 17-8 record. On FG, Pitching is 8th in MLB with an overall 3.4 fWAR. Hitting is 10th in MLB with an overall 4.2 fWAR.
Lots of new faces pitching and hitting and almost all are making a positive impact. How young are they? Seven pitchers and position players will reach the 1 year mark of MLB Service in May – Tucupita Marcano, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Oneil Cruz, Colin Holderman, Dauri Moreta, and Roansy Contreras.
WTM pointed out the exploits of the bottom 3 of Castro, Bae, and Delay in last nights ballgame. I have long been a fan of both Castro and Bae, but Jason Delay is putting his name out there right now with his slash of .368/.415/.553/.968 OPS. Always a top defensive Pitcher’s Catcher out of Vanderbilt, there are teams who were supposed to be contenders who are in dire need of Catching, and the Pirates are loaded. Sing it Tony!
With rounding, FG now projects us to be 81-81 and with about a 1/4 chance of making the playoffs. Still just 4th in the Central, though.
I think that at bat by Drew gives him lifetime healthcare so good for him and his family.
I used to think that, but I read somewhere, probably here, that they become eligible to purchase baseball’s primo insurance. Also, I think that he had already qualified for that when he spent two days on the Twins (?) bench. They don’t have to get in a game. If anyone knows if what I wrote is incorrect, please say so. I’ve wondered about this.
You would be right according to an article in FG.
“There’s a popular misconception that any professional baseball player who spends even one day on a major league roster will receive free health care for life. In reality, that’s not true. Instead, what one day of service gives you is the right to buy into a healthcare plan, which isn’t really the same as free, comprehensive coverage. A player’s eligibility for health and pension benefits is tiered, and depends on how much time the player spent on a major league roster, how much service time he accrued, and can even be a matter of which years he played, as different benefits are available to different eras of players. Different plans carry different co-pays and have varying coverage maximums.”
Free or not, the ability to buy into a primo plan is a huge benefit. Ask anybody out in the real world.
And it is considered one of the best deals possible as health insurance goes.
“We Are Family – The Grandchildren”
After I saw a Dodger commentator on their pregame show say “They aren’t exactly the ‘We Are Family’ team.
The same thing happened with Cody Bellinger on his return to LA and believe it or not there is supposedly a allowance in the rules for such situations. I think they covered it in a you tube video on closecallsports right after the Bellinger incident.
The ump gave Maggi time to soak in the ovation when he came to bat but after his foul ball on the first pitch, Maggi didn’t get back in the box soon enough. It was a fair call, even if it seemed a bit obnoxious at the time (Cutch gave it a big thumbs down from the dugout). Since Maggi fouled off the next pitch, the strike call didn’t directly affect the outcome of the AB.
There is. They actually call it “The Cutch Rule”, and it was implemented in anticipation of Cutch’s first AB at PNC Park.
I would say the ump effed up with Bellinger.
Now that Maggi got his AB, thinking Wilbur will get his wish and either Andujar or Palacios will take Drew’s roster spot.
Glad Maggi got his at bat. How long till he starts coaching? Is there an opening at Visalia?? 😁😁
I was thinking the same thing during his postgame interview with Robby. He’s earned a shot at anything to do in baseball with his tremendous perseverance!