Bungling Bucs Give Game, Series to Rockies, Drop Ninth of Last Ten

The Pirates came into this season with a new, much-ballyhooed set of veteranly veterans.  The team had more talent than the three comedy troupes that Ben Cherington put together from 2020-22, and the veterans surely would help show the young guys how to play the game.

Or not.  Somehow, this team is giving away more winnable games than the pathetic 2020-22 squads did.  Far from playing a better brand of baseball, the Pirates for the last week and a half have barely looked like they were playing baseball at all.

Case in point:  today’s loss 4-3 loss to Colorado.

The Pirates actually got a lead in this one, scoring three runs for the first time in ten games.  Tucupita Marcano went deep, his first of the year, to open the scoring in the second.  In the third, Andrew McCutchen followed a double by Bryan Reynolds with his seventh bomb.

And that was it.  In six and two thirds innings against the Rockies’ bullpen, which ranks 20th in MLB in ERA, the Pirates amassed two hits and whiffed a dozen times.

Veteran Rich Hill wasn’t able to hold the lead.  He sailed through three innings, but gave up a run in the fourth.  Following the run, with two outs, he fumbled a routine comebacker, and that opened the door to two more runs, tying the game.  Dauri Moreta finally got a strikeout to end the inning.  In fact, he eventually retired six straight, fanning three.

The tie was as good as it was going to get for the Pirates’ helpless offense.  They reached yet another of their countless low points in the sixth when they loaded the bases with nobody out.  Connor Joe, showing great situational awareness, looked at a third strike.  Then Rodolfo Castro lined softly to shallow center.  Reynolds went for the plate and naturally was thrown out.

Of course, the buffoonery wouldn’t have been complete without a contribution from the manager.  In the first game of the series, the Pirates had three-of-three base stealers thrown out by Elias Diaz.  Nobody will ever accuse Shelton of giving up on failed strategies.  He sent Connor Joe twice in this game, with the same result.  One of those happened in front of Marcano’s homer.

Shelton had more strategery up his sleeve.  He pinch hit for Jack Suwinski in the sixth and Marcano in the seventh.  Miguel Andujar was the choice to replace Marcano.  He went 0-for-2 in this game, making him 1-for-22 since his big doubleheader debut.  Meanwhile, Shelton didn’t hit for veteran vapor-bats Chris Owings and Austin Hedges, by far the two worst hitters on the roster, until the ninth.

Robert Stephenson came on for the seventh and, with the help of two walks, the Rockies loaded the bases with nobody out.  Not being the Pirates, they scored a run.

Which finally left things for a fitting end.  Hitting for Owings with a man on and two outs in the ninth, Ji-Hwan Bae doubled, putting the tying and winning runs in scoring position.  That left Josh Palacios to hit for Hedges.  And he fanned.

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.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Well done breakdown of a breakdown,

Last of 9th their closer was all over the place

A better ending

That left Rule 5 Josh Palacios sent to the dish shaking in his cleats free swinging at filth WITHOUT A TAKE SIGN ON,
Under 15 seconds 0-2 instead of 2-0
Trying to set these kids up for failure?
Highest leverage situation AB in his life, no help



Had the fun opf listening to Ziese on The Fan on my home last night. He was railing on the Pirates for not bringing up all the kids and “Going for it” since the division is horrible right now. Not sure who he thinks could be brought up that would be a real difference maker at the moment from the farm. There appears to be a lot of talent yet to come but several are in Greensboro at the moment. He finally had Mackey on to get a little sanity into the conversation. I agree with Mackey that maybe add Endy as soon as they feel his arm is 100% so he can maybe get some reps and have Hedges there to mentor the defensive part of the game. Even Davis for his bat to see if it would play now and to get some mentorship as well. Not much else really ready to help at the moment.


DK has been clamoring for that as well.


I mean look what it’s done for the Cardinals, how could you argue!


Right. I heard that and my initial thought was…rookie call ups, no matter how highly touted or high-performing, will not pull them out of this tailspin.


I just want to make sure Endy’s arm is 100% before he comes up and for Davis, I want his coaching staff in Altoona say he is ready to take the leap before he does. I would rather him wait just a bit till he is ready on the defensive side and not have him come up and make errors then him struggle as a result. Yes the division sucks but to rush or make a trade to “go for it” this year seems premature. Adding maybe 1 bat and rushing up a couple of young catchers won’t do much than maybe win a bad division and lose in their first series anyway. They are close but would rather go for it in 2024 when they have some more pieces ready to go.


Honest question for the author?

Are Cutch, Santana, Joe, Rich Hill & Velasquez *veteranly*?

Or is your *dislike* for Hedges distorting your judgement?


Bungling Bucs biff game, baffled as bats remain bashful.


Day shift reporting for work – they let one get away, but that was expected going into a year committed to a REBUILD. Somewhere along the road we started thinking like we had for the 3 years prior to 2023! Got rid of Mathias, but now we have Owings, Andujar, and Palacios. It’s AAAA time again with people who cannot provide this franchise any type of future promise.

I commented yesterday that it was a unique Managerial move to put the kid who hit the game winning HR in the first game – Rodolfo Castro – on the bench for Game 2. Then he stayed on the bench for Game 3. Just turned 24 and carrying a near .800 OPS with 5 doubles, 4 HR, 14 RBI’s, 13 BB, 29 K.

We need people on base so why not look at the OBP numbers. Of the position players, Castro and ‘Cutch are .365 and .366, and Connor Joe is .374.



The only problem is, Cutch is the only one that is consistent at the problem. Castro and Joe built that OBP with a torrid April but May has suddenly become a struggle again for both. Mackey last night said that guys seem to be thinking too much right now and trying to hard. During the hot streak, they were just going out and playing. He hopes these couple of off days between series will get them to relax and just play again.


I hear you, but that one game we won against Colorado was in May and Joe got a hit to get on base and Castro went yard for our 2 – 0 win.

Are our problems mental – damn right they are. We have a dumbass masquerading (just thought of George Benson) as a Manager. Yes, we have been struggling – that happens – but put yourself in Castro’s shoes for a minute – you hit a game winning HR, make an excellent defensive play on the last out of the game, and what does he get – bupkis! Thanks Ro, now go find yourself a comfortable seat on the bench for the next 2 games!

A good coach or manager has to be an excellent communicator in how he speaks to players and how he manages every facet of the game. . Instead of trying to make that one game winning hit a sign of things getting better for the kid, he chose to completely ignore it by benching him for the next two games. Kids are kids, whether they are 12 or 24 it is all the same. Recognition goes a long way – not only to him, but every other young player watching.


Shelton at his finest.


Did you notice he was almost non-existent in April? After the accolades came pouring in, then he wanted to be the guy up front leading the parade, and being seen as the guy behind the success.

b mcferren

anybody here think Cutch and Aroldis Chapman can bury the hatchet?

Last edited 25 days ago by b mcferren

Does he play shortstop now?


The real question is where in the other doe each want to bury that hatchet…..


How does that Shelton contract extension look now? So the ground level that we’re standing at is about 13 meters above sea level and then we’ll flow more🤔🤔🤔🤔


Well that was frustrating to say the least, hope indy and bradenton stomp on their opponents to send some good vibes into the system


As the smoke clears, somehow the Brewers are just as bad and the Bucs are still……in first place…….


The Brewers have that winning culture that Cherington and Shelton haven’t been able to develop here, yet. I have no doubt that the Brewers will play better ball than the Pirates from here on. I believe that, but also hoping for a reverse jinx.


The Brewers have a very smart Manager in Craig Counsell who has played the game and knows it from the inside out. Sort of like a Don Kelly type of person and I sure hope some team comes along and offers Kelly a job. Cherrington does not really appreciate the Kelly background of being a solid Pittsburgh kid for his whole life.


Spare me the hometahhhn crap.


I agree with you on that. Just cant believe a team can lose 9 of 10 and only lose 1/2 a game in the standings. Appears we are at the top of the 50 foot pile of crap before you get to the A’s at the moment. I do believe that the Bucs have moved upwards from the bottom of that pile of crap this year and they are still fun to watch again. Hurts that both Brubaker and Burrows are both out and the handful of other injuries that we have. We will get better when they move up Endy and a couple of other kids hopefully in midseason or so and they will look a bit better to finish and head into next season. it is ugly at the moment but still optimistic about the future. Hopefully this time next year we can be above the 50 foot pile of crap and firmly into the poor teams below the rich teams but actually competing (fingers cross after pouring Jobu another rum)


OH, Wilbur…you naughty boy speaking your mind…


Can we revive the Rinky Dinks???

b mcferren

amongst all the problems, our bullpen is not one of them

those dudes are pretty nails

b mcferren

that Rabelo call to hold him was tough

I´m not faulting the decision but man oh man


The only reason to send him was knowing Palacios was coming up, but it would have taken a pretty bad throw for Castro to have had any chance. Given our horrible baserunning decisions lately, I’m skeptical that Rabelo was even aware of who was coming up but it still seemed like the right decision.


I was bummed that Rudolfo was held too. Then I saw the replay looking from the infield out to left. Only then was I glad that Rabelo held him. He would had been out by a mile unless the ball sailed over the Rox catcher


This loss feels worse than the 10-1 shellacking they absorbed yesterday.


For me too, because after Cutch’s HR I felt like it had the makings of a feel-good, storybook win. Then again when they loaded the bases in the 6th, and yet again after Bae’s double. But we gave away too many outs, both in the field and at bat.


The wording used to describe the game is beyond unprofessional. Write as a journalist, not as a pissed off fan, its really not fun to read. Even your manager second-guessing is just poor analysis. Every manager in the majors would likely pinch hit for Suwinski against a lefty at a pivotal spot. Even Hedges is better against lefties than Jack! Calling it Buffoonery is just blatantly “Yinzer” behavior. Stop it, or………..Tim……..stop letting him publish this garbage without proofreading it first for christ sake

Last edited 25 days ago by Y2JGQ2

Wilbur isn’t a pro-Pirates media member writing a game story. If you want that, go read the recap on MLB.com/Pirates.

He is someone who is unabashedly anti-Pirates management. His take is regularly slanted in that direction. There’s an audience on this site who appreciates his approach. If you don’t like it, choose not to read his articles. Especially game recaps of losses.


I could care less about his opinionated pieces. The problem in my eyes is the plebeians that can’t form their own opinions and follow him like sheep. He could sh*t in his hand and they would eat it up.

He’s like the David Koresh of Pirates baseball.

Last edited 25 days ago by Catch_22

Thank you for protecting all us little plebeians from heresy and guiding us to the light. Would you be kind enough, o noble soul, to tell me what my opinions should be on a range of other issues as well. As a humble plebeian, I am too stupid to form my opinions and make my own judgments, so I would be honored if an obvious genius like yourself would form my opinions for me.

Lol.. I hear they call people like you “Karen” in the U.S. today. Were you a schoolmarm before retiring to be a part-time internet jerk?


Good for you, little man. You’re now degrading women.


That’s pretty funny. And what you describe is symptomatic of today’s society. Nobody is allowed to think for themselves. You must align yourself with one side or another on all issues. There are forces at work pulling us away from the middle and towards the edges.


Hold on, we’re talking about Wilbur here?

Log off and go touch grass. You people are nuts.


We’re nuts?!?!?

Not the 70-year-old that throws child-like fits and grossly exaggerates when the Pirates suck.

His swashbuckling shenanigans have been going on for years, all the way back to BucsDugout and ppl were calling him out.


Swashbuckler! He’s gotta change his profile pic now.

I’m just sayin, brother, if you think it’s Wilbur who’s fomenting anger across all of Pirates Nation I beg you to just go talk to any normal person. Pretty sure this one’s earned without Wilbur hypnotizing them into disappointment and then having sex with their wives and children while amassing an arsenal of weapons.


I went way too far with the Koresh analogy.


I at least had fun picturing Wilbur in the Netflix doc that you probably just watched, as I did. 😉


Yeah, I watched the Netflix doc. They have a mini-series on Showtime that will conclude this Sunday called the “Aftermath” which is also really good.


First, Hedges and better than can never be used in the same breath

L/R must not be an issue when tanking?

Why did he start or let JS near the dish to face these LH’s last year?
ALL were tight games?
Oh wait a second, its coming back to me now

ERLIN- 1st career HR put the Dodgers away in the 8th

DREW SMYLY- his parents were in Wrigley and game winner

SAM LONG- 2nd of 3 was the go ahead before walk off fathers day

MAX FRIED- Max is the best

JALEN BEEKS- 443′ go ahead 3 run BOMB VS TAMPA

Pretty solid group of LH’s but not close to Brad Hand’s level

PH “Yinzer” Hedges for JS vs LH’s rest of the way and LMK how that all works out for you



I love Wilber’s sense of humor. You could lighten up a bit. It’s a game after all.


Read the article titled “Extremely Frustrating” on the Pirate website and you’ll find a nearly identical description of the game albeit with far less colorful language. I agree WM can sometimes be a bit over the top but my impression has always been that’s because he cares and like many of us is tried of all the excuses.

Many of the people who read these articles regularly are “pissed off fans” and probably feel right at home reading articles by a pissed off writer. If you find some of these articles “not fun to read” obviously you needn’t read them. Personally I find them more enjoyable than watching the Pirates bumble, fumble and stumble through games like they did again today.

Last edited 25 days ago by docdon385

Go to pirates.com if you want to read puff pieces on the team if you feel so offended. Nobody is forcing you to read anything on this site and especially since it’s not a pay site any more. Wilbur’s criticism’s are quite valid and his sarcasm about the actual goal of this organization are quite valid. I happen to agree with him so I guess I’m prejudiced. I don’t agree with everything any writer on this site posts but I respect their opinions because this is what they do for a living. I appreciate their opinions because I’m unable to dedicate my life and time to Pirate baseball only.


You do realize that WTM is the only one the writes this stuff?

Tim doesn’t, Dreker doesn’t, Murph doesn’t, BNP doesn’t, none of the other sites that cover the Pirates have writers like this. Wilbur is on an island with his highly opinionated pieces and takes.


And your point?

Sounds to me like WM has created a niche for himself. Let’s face facts, after what’s transpired in the last few years, this management team is definitely not above reproach. And there are many irate fans who are appreciative of someone expressing their views in the direct, rather blunt manner he does.


This isn’t something he just started doing over the past few years. He was doing this when they were winning.


Was he on Bucs Dugout in those days? I wasn’t really one of the regulars on that site during its heyday.

Sounds like your confirming what I long suspected, WM is the type of person who would rather walk a mile to see the bad in something, than walk across the street to see the good in it.


You are both, of course, completely ignorant.

Wilbur was labeled an “apologist” on the “pro” side during the great Daquido Bazzini Wars of the early Huntington Era, as was the rest of the Bucs Dugout crew.

I’m sure it makes you feel good about yourselves to conveniently re-write history in a manner that confirms your priors, though!

Log off > touch grass


Knock me over with a feather…Wilbur an apologist for Pirates management.

I feel like Mel Gibson when he ripped off the helmet of the fallen knight and discovered it was the Earl of Bruce! Complete and utter disbelief!


My god…Daquido Bazzini. I hadn’t thought of that name in forever. Lord…the early days of online baseball for me!


I agree with some of your observations but it’s gotta be hard putting lipstick on a pig!

Last edited 25 days ago by mikeschalke

I disagree. Sometimes the hard truth is what folks need to hear. Mr. Miller’s opinions on these matters certainly ring true.


Not sure how one can watch that game & find Wilbur’s painfully accurate summary the only thing worth commenting on

Pirates Prospects Daily



Latest articles

Latest comments

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x