The Pirates’ offensive woes continued as they lost to Baltimore, 6-3. They’ve now lost ten of their last eleven, and they’re 0-7 against the AL East.
Johan Oviedo came in needing to bounce back from three bad starts. He sort-of got what he needed. It wasn’t pretty, but he managed to survive the first five innings without allowing a run. He threw just 44 of 86 pitches for strikes and walked five, but somehow made pitches when he had to, as the Orioles went 0-for-6 against him with RISP.
Oviedo reached the end of the line in the sixth when he gave up a triple and a walk to start the inning. Dauri Moreta followed and looked like he might put out the fire when he fanned his first hitter and got ahead 0-2 on the next, but he bounced a breaking ball that Austin Hedges couldn’t corral, bringing in a run. Moreta got two more outs without further damage.
The Pirates’ offense, meanwhile, was completely overmatched against Kyle Bradish, who came into the game with a 5.95 ERA. Over five innings they managed just three singles and a walk. They did, however, find the missing element for scoring: the kindness of strangers. Ji-Hwan Bae reached third with one out on a single, wild pitch and ground out. With the infield in, Ke’Bryan Hayes grounded right to short for what should have been an easy out at the plate, but Jorge Mateo fired the throw to the backstop.
In the top of the seventh, the Pirates got that run back when Connor Joe hit his fifth home run of the year off Danny Coloumbe, far back into the stands in left. Coloumbe is a very tough lefty, but Joe had an OPS of 1.147 against LHPs even before the blast.
But that lead didn’t last. Jose Hernandez came on for the bottom half and gave up back-to-back, one-out doubles. That tied the game, 2-2, then Duane Underwood, Jr., came on to allow a go-ahead single, a grounder past short that illustrated Rodolfo Castro’s lack of range for the position.
In the bottom of the eighth, Underwood blew up the game. The leadoff hitter singled off Castro’s glove, then Underwood walked the next batter, with ball four coming on a pitch clock violation. A double play followed, but Underwood walked the next batter. He should have come out at that point, not that there was any possibility of the Pirates scoring in the ninth, but Derek Shelton left him in to give up a three-run home run to Cedric Mullins, which gave Mullins a cycle.
The Pirates went down tamely in the eighth, then got a run in the ninth off the Orioles’ one weak reliever, Austin Voth. That brought in closer Felix Bautista with runners at the corners and nobody out. He easily fanned Joe, Castro and Bae to end it.
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.
I just checked the stats and saw that Hayes has 9 RBI on the year. Now I realize that he’s been the leadoff man but that number is just putrid.
Unless Stephenson was injured or unavailable, it was completely indefensible to use DUJ in a late one-run game on road in either the 7th & especially coming back out for the 8th. Shelton pushed all the right buttons in April and is pushing all the wrong ones in May
I have never seen an MLB hitter as bad as Austin Hedges and I saw Dave Nicholson strike out four times in a game and was then pinch hit for by a pitcher. Dave Nicholson was not as bad a hitter as Austin Hedges.
Nicholson’s OPS+ was 97 so he was almost a league average hitter.
That OPS is an illusion based on a few months in ’63 and ’66. Dave was supposedly a good dude but he was a really bad hitter, a strikeout every three AB’s hitter, a guy they would pinch hit for with a pitcher sometimes. He wasnt as bad as Hedges.
If the brewers hold their lead tonight they take over first place.
I said this in another thread. They overachieved big time in April. But now you are seeing what the Pirates truly are. This is the 74 win team I predicted them to be. Look at that lineup and honestly tell me that lineup will win big games against the big boys of MLB. We have only one impact bay in that lineup, and that’s Reynolds. And he hasn’t exactly lit it up in May. The rest of that lineup does nothing for anyone. It’s dumpster diving with some older players and other backup types that round out the majority of the roster. It’s simply not a good roster, and it’s obvious. I like Bae as a fixture in the future, but I’m not sold on Suwinski at all as a regular. And Hayes simply can’t hit. He’s just a WAR guy as a defender and nothing more. Losing Cruz was the last thing this offense needed. I do like the starting pitching for the future, but it clearly isn’t enough.
The needle just hasn’t moved enough, especially for the amount of losing we have experienced. The farm system should be far better than it currently is. The Orioles were once in a similar situation and they clearly have done a far better job in drafting and developing, and they are now contending with even more talent on its way from Norfolk. The Pirates, well, we can’t call up anyone from AAA. No one is ready. Endy hasn’t hit, Nicky G just strikes out too much for any true hope there, and Priester needs more seasoning still before he gets called up. And don’t call up Davis. Keep allowing him to develop and give him some time at AAA.
Could not have said it better!!
Hernandez has earned leverage opportunities and i would send him out again, but i think stephensen over underwear jr there. DUJ has never earned innings of any leverage except last resort imo
DUJ is a prime example of this team’s confusion of not-terrible with good.
This team is a feckin’ train wreck and no one in management has a clue what to do about it. Fortunately Shelton knows how to keep calm and carry on while the team disintegrates.
Unfortunately Shelton got extended!