After a wild first inning, the Pirates scraped together just enough offense and pitching to beat Boston in Fenway, 7-6.
Things looked great at the start, and then not so much. After sleeping through the Reds series, the Pirates’ offense scored as many runs in the first inning as it did in the last 18 in Cincinnati. Ke’Bryan Hayes got his first RBI of the year and Canaan Smith-Njigba came through with a two-out, two-run double high off the monster.
But the 3-0 lead didn’t last long. Johan Oviedo couldn’t throw strikes and when he did, he got bombed. After three first-inning gopher balls, Boston led, 5-3.
Oviedo managed to battle through after that, mainly because he started throwing some strikes. He lasted four and two-thirds and there was no more damage. He threw 94 pitches total, about half . . . well, not quite . . . in the first inning.
Oviedo left with two on and the bullpen was shaky, but somehow survived. Dauri Moreta, Rob Zastryzny (I looked it up) and Duane Underwood, Jr., combined to get the next four outs while allowing four runners, one of which scored. That one was charged to Zastryzny but came home with Underwood on the mound.
Underwood actually got the side in order in the seventh and Colin Holderman survived the eighth despite a hit and a walk.
Meanwhile, the Pirates scored more runs! Four, altogether, in the second through the fourth. Half of that came on two swings from Bryan Reynolds, his second and third dingers of the year. And another run came on a longball by Jason Delay, the first hit of the year by a Pirate catcher. Jack Suwinski singled in the remaining run. (Carlos Santana and Ji-Man Choi remain RBI-less.)
All of this got a 7-6 game to David Bednar in the ninth. He gave up a hit but fanned two, picking up save number two.
On the day, Reynolds had three hits and three runs scored. The Pirates had nine hits overall. Underwood got the win.
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.
That Ke RBI was so depressingly Kebryan Hayes.
A hung slider over the middle of the plate turned into an absolute piss missile slapped to the right side.
If you can’t elevate and turn on that pitch, your swing is broken.
What do you think the chances are we ever get a 105 WRC+ or better out of Hayes?
Bro, did you pick that number on purpose?!
ZiPS projections this year also have an 80th/20th percentile estimate, and Ke’s 80th percentile projection was…104 OPS+ (close enough!).
My gut answer was gonna be 10%.
It’s really, reeeaaallly tough to be an above-average hitter with his contact profile.
Ha I didn’t know that was his 80th percentile projection.
I was so damn excited about him when he first came up.
Ever? 99% I would say
Definitely feeling more confident with our lineup against RHP instead of LHP right now. Glad to see RHP tonight but hoping over the season a few promotions could balance that out
My fear was Reynolds was going to be distracted by contract noise. But, it doesn’t appear to be an issue and he’s going to pop another 6 WAR season. Weird part is he’s back in CF after all the talk of moving off the position.
Also, Oneil Cruz is playing some shortstop, looking like a stud over there. All his throws are chest-high lasers.
I know it’s early, but those are very encouraging signs. I’m not on the Oviedo train, his command is suspect.
Good game, hit well and after the first inning pitch well. The bullpen has been the biggest surprise so far this year. No jinx no jinx!
I’ll echo Jon6er and WM on Oviedo. Really impressed that he fought thru a tough start, and glad he was given the opportunity after that rough first inning. This team is not championship caliber, so it makes sense to let some of these guys figure it out. Also was good to see Suwinski get a hit and fly out as opposed to striking out. I mean that sincerely – really hope that he succeeds. Hoping to see Castro take on a more productive role. He has the athleticism and the tools. Also, I try to catch the games just to see what Cruz might do. There will be some rough games, but last night was fun.
Curious who (if anyone) people anticipate to be the first Triple A pitcher called into start sometime this season(Ortiz,Burrows, or Priester)?
I’m betting Ortiz will be next.
You’re probably right. Watched a good bit of Ortiz’s start the other night. Looked a little rusty with fastball command but batters weren’t able to do much against him.
my dude! good to see ya!
Good to see you as well! Hoping you guys can help me rekindle some hope in the future of this organization!!
Thanks WTM, and thanks again to the Pirate BP that came through and held the Sox to just one run in the last 8 innings. Checked the log of plays and the infield was very solid last night and have been solid all year.
Choi and Santana have not contributed much with the bats, but I think they have bonded with the kids and are helping a lot on D. Great play shown on MLB of Jack Suwinski diving and making a great catch on a fly ball.
Good thing we did not trade Reynolds before last night’s game. Great lead-in from Kelly Nash on MLB about Reynolds and the possibility of being traded. As poorly as the overall group has contributed hitting, Reynolds is already at +0.4 and Cruz is +0.3.
The BP seemed mostly shaky, but 4 1/3 with one run is a great effort.
On BRey, they need to get something done yesterday. If he reverts to 2021 form, they’re not getting him for 106M.
The Pirates, of course, are negotiating on what they consider is a solid position – Reynold’s 2.8 fWAR in 2022, which was heavily influenced by a “worst of his career” defensive value of -9.6 according to Fangraphs.
In his previous 3 evaluations he had defensive ratings of -4.0 in 2019, +0.8 in 2020 (55 games), and a +2.9 in 2021. Obviously, the defensive rating of -9.6 in 2022 could be seen as an outlier. The average of the other 3 years amounts to -0.1/yr.
The last two seasons with OPS numbers of .912 and .807 and has played 304 out of a possible 324 games. A former 4th place in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2019, an All Star in 2021, and 11th place in the 2021 MVP voting. This is what Pirate Baseball has become – trying to point out all of the many reasons they should want to sign a kid like Bryan Reynolds.
Hope you are doing well Wilbur. Anyone in the minors you think could be a helpful bullpen addition before too long?
I thought about the whole Indy bullpen might be helpful, but they’ve all been terrible so far. Not much to do except see who rebounds soonest.
They’re gonna have to call Stephenson up soon. He’s out of options, so they have whatever the maximum non-TJ rehab time is.
Had Reynolds on the trade block in my fantasy league to see if any of the fellas wanted to get ripped off in order to get a Bucco on their team. Saw he hit two HR’s and quickly removed him. I figure I have him under contract until fantasy season is over. For the reasonable price of an 11th rd pick.
Slightly off topic, but are there no more live game discussions? I have not been able to find them if they are out there.
The daily article, but it often gets buried, no idea where the minors one is!!!!!
Would definitely prefer a designated place for it rather than hijacking a convenient article.
And, of course, TJ is an option for Brubaker. Not for sure yet, but sh**.
Now they will delay it for another three months and JT will miss two whole years….
Honestly, it feels like the org has dodged that bullet quite a bit with TJ the last few years. Only a matter of time.
Was there ever a doubt?
I’m actually impressed that Oviedo recovered against a good hitting team after that disastrous first inning. Still confused by Shelton’s pitch count chart. Early season and he’s letting these guys get really high pitch counts. What’s he going to do in May, pull guys after five innings and at 75 pitches like last year, lol.
I thought about making a comparison to Keller, whose turnaround, I think, has a lot to do with developing the ability to battle through rough stretches. By the end of the first, I sure as heck didn’t think Oviedo would come up just short of going five.
Holding the Red sox to just one run after that first inning debacle was unexpected and obviously welcomed.