Ugly Play by Pirates Leads to 8-3 Loss on Sunday to the Diamondbacks

The Pittsburgh Pirates went into Sunday afternoon’s game at PNC Park with a chance to win a series over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who came into the weekend with a 25-19 record. They instead came away with an ugly loss that dropped them a game back of first place in the National League Central.

The Diamondbacks got on the board first when Corbin Carroll hit a solo homer in the first inning off of Roansy Contreras.

The Pirates tied this game in the second with a lot of help from Arizona pitcher Merrill Kelly. He issued a two-out walk to Connor Joe. An errant pick-off throw allowed Joe to get to third base, then a wild pitch tied the game.

Contreras was not efficient in this game, leading him to a high pitch count by the third inning. He gave up a double to Jose Herrera, then put him on third base with a wild pitch. Carroll walked with two outs, putting runners on the corners. Another wild pitch allowed Herrera to score, making it 2-1. Contreras ended the inning with 65 pitches.

Arizona was next to get on the board in the fifth when a walk to Geraldo Perdomo was followed by a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single by Pavin Smith. Contreras got a double play to end the inning with a 3-1 deficit. 

The Pirates came right back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. Connor Joe reached on a one-out single, then Rodolfo Castro, who is celebrating his 24th birthday, moved him to third base with a single. That was followed one batter later by a Tucupita Marcano double that tied the score.

The Pirates were unable to get Marcano in from second base, then poor defense immediately sent in a run for the Diamondbacks.

Dauri Moreta took over for Contreras in the sixth, after he allowed three runs on three hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Moreta made back-to-back errors that allowed a run to score.

Rob Zastryzny replaced Moreta with one out in the sixth. He got out of the inning without any more damage. However, he was charged with a run in the seventh, when he gave up a single, followed by a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt. Robert Stephenson came on and served up a single to Ketel Marte, making it 5-3 Arizona.

Things started to get out of hand at that point. Carroll walked, then Christian Walker doubled in two runs to make it 7-3. Stephenson got out of the inning before it got any worse.

The Diamondbacks added a run in the ninth off of Yohan Ramirez, who walked Carroll with two outs. Carroll stole second, moved to third on an error by Jason Delay, then scored on a single by Walker.

The Pirates couldn’t score over the final four innings. They finished their day with three hits. Those three hits came consecutively in the fifth inning.

The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays to move into sole possession of first place.

The Pirates fell to 24-22, including a 4-12 run in their last 16 games.

Pittsburgh now hosts the 29-17 Texas Rangers for three games, starting tomorrow night at 6:35 PM.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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I’m starting to question if Ro makes it through the season in the rotation. He’s been pretty bad his past handful of starts.

What happened to the pitcher that was striking everyone out in the minors? He now has a k% of 16.4?!?!?!?

Since he made his debut, he’s lost more than 2 mph on his heater.

If he’s not injured, maybe send him down and see if he can figure it out.


Just don’t think he’s got the stamina to be a 150 IP starter.


I find this interesting…

After it took an unexpected leap in 2021, Contreras’ velocity declined throughout his first full big league season. So long as it rebounds, he still has mid-rotation projection.

So far, it hasn’t.


Came out of the pandemic year with way more velo than ever shown before.

More and more curious is that velo “leap” was just a product of reduced workload.


Same with Priester. In my opinion the two best pitching prospects in the upper level are Burrows and Jones, why? They have good fastballs, problem? Burrow’s durability and Jones command.


I’ve been saying reliever for a while, but the change he threw yesterday if improved could change my mind.


I agree, I am concerned about Ro and his ability to stay in the rotation long term. His slider is good but his FB isnt enough for him to succeed as a 2 pitch guy so he needs a third to at least offer occasionally. Also, needs to locate that much better while losing velo


Appears the brass is concerned as well. He had like 8 days off between starts. It’s bad enough that Bru and Burrows are out for the season, but Ortiz looks nothing like the pitcher from last year.

I guess if they need to unplug him, Priester is probably the guy to replace him.


QP has been pitching much better the last week or two at least, it really is wild how quickly pitching depth can deplete


Also hoping VV is back in a week or two, but other than keller not too enthused about any of our options


Castro had 2 of the 8 hardest hit balls today (both teams combined) and he made an outstanding defensive play. I wonder how long it will be until he gets to start against a RHP again?


Even if not every RHP, he should at the very least be in the rotation as well as starting against every LHP.


Couldn’t agree more–it’s not that I’m more optimistic about Castro than Bae or Marcano, but over the last 2-3 weeks Castro is the one who seems to be forgotten despite Bae being a negative WAR player and Marcano being replacement level. It seems that Shelton has a different standard for Castro than others, one where mistakes send him to the doghouse while successes are ignored.


Hope he takes his opportunity and claims the second base job. I’m still skeptical of him batting from the left but he looked good today.


I don’t disagree with the skepticism but for a guy who hasn’t even had a full season of ABs yet and just turned 24 (his birthday was yesterday), not starting him for 5-6 games in a row just doesn’t make sense for the player or the organization. It’s very short-sighted but the only justification I could see in extending Shelton when they did was so that he wouldn’t be inclined to make short-sighted decisions to save his job.


We have he pretty much the same view. I still would like to see Castro try only batting RH this off-season. It appears to me that fighting off borderline pitches is the big difference between his RH v his LH approach. He fouls pitches off from the right side but swings through them from the left.(also causing him to appear he’s swinging at pitches further out of the zone, when he’s just trying to protect the plate)


Hayes can’t make errors _and_ put up a 77 wRC+


Hayes! You better be perfect on defense or we’ll crucify you in the court of public opinion! It’s not good enough you’re the best defender in all of MLB!



Touched a nerve?

Seems like a pretty banal observation to me.

If KeBryan Hayes does not do the one thing he does well then it is not good.

Last edited 12 days ago by NMR

Yeah I’m guilty of being a jerk on occasion. Nothing you don’t know already.

I just think it’s incredibly ridiculous to hold any player to the standard of perfection.

Many commentators on here have chosen Hayes to be THE reason for Pirates failings of late, and I’m only too happy to let them know the Pirates have bigger issues than Hayes’ play.


Defense is overrated by both baseball reference and FG and even with his “nearly perfect” defense his bat is such a sink he’s—at best—a middle of the pack 3B by fWAR. He’s an average player with little upside. Joe Randa.


Why do you think defense is overrated by B-R and FG? I’m not disagreeing they need more from Hayes, that’s fairly clear.

Last edited 12 days ago by ArkyWags

I think the entire runs scored=runs prevented argument that underpins both bWAR and fWAR is fundamentally flawed given it is 100% oblivious to the actual marketplace for players and scarcity. In a vacuum, sure, a run prevented is the same value as a run scored. In reality, run prevention as a construct—when setting the pitching component of it aside focusing solely on fielding—is very very cheap compared to run scoring in the marketplace. Because both stats systems ignore actual dollar cost inputs for their metrics they by design overrate defensive value, imo.


Ten likes!


Thanks for the reply. I’m asking this of you, but this for anyone: Is there any real way to change that in the overall makeup of B-R or FG? If they ignore actual dollar costs inputs to their metrics, would that be something they can add as a component? Or are we talking maybe a whole new way to measure a player with that feature is needed?

I’m way out of my depth here, and it’s probably easily revealed in my questions above. But I’m genuinely curious.


I think their response would be that what you’re asking for is not what they are intending to calculate.

In order to wrap more of a value proposition into WAR, you’d first have to somehow come to agreement on how much exactly a run created differs from a run saved and, well, good luck coming up with something that wouldn’t be equally criticized.

Cop out, maybe, but also not exactly incorrect!


Yeah it’d be a pretty long formula like wRC+ I think where it’s wins runs created + but also weighted for cost rate basis of $/WAR output applied to OFF and DEF across the league or something.


Thanks. I’m not sure if they would be worried about criticism with a new metric, would they? I’m sure they catch enough flak about WAR as is and they seem to have pretty thick skin.

The first part of your response is equally interesting. I’m assuming WAR was created to capture a player’s total value (offense, defense, baserunning). It feels like you can’t ignore the economic aspect or context of that anymore.

Fun topic. Even for a Luddite like me.




Yes, really high-level response from RTJR Girl.
Key should not be celebrated for a 3.5 war when only .5 war is from the offensive side.


I’ve tried to have this discussion at Fangraphs in comments sections but you get almost a religious response reacting against it. It’s wild.


Thanks for your opinion on the matter. Just don’t expect Bill Mazeroski, Brooks Robinson, and Ozzie Smith to rescind their place in the baseball Hall of Fame because you think they’re skills are overrated.

b mcferren

Joe Randa had an .800 ops with us before the expansion draft

you are being very generous


Our offense needs help, either a call up or a trade acquisition. Maybe a blocked prospect like Busch in LA. Don’t know what it’d take to get him, Peguero might be a starting point.


who do you replace? We have a litany of players whom have put up a OPS over .800 this season, even after this horrible run. Other than Santana, and Bae (whose OPS is irrelevant since hes here for speed) and Hayes, maybe the best defensive 3rd baseman in baseball…….you aren’t going to deal for a player to block cruz, or Davis/Rodriguez, so I’m really not sure what your plan is although I guess I wouldn’t be upset with a top 100 prospect OF


Thinking Busch could be a long term piece at first, Santana would still get playing time. Other than that Endy and potentially Davis could be up in a month or so.


I’ve been obsessing over getting Pratto from KC…..

b mcferren

ARZ Ivan Melendez
BOS Niko Kavadas
LAA Sonny DiChiara
TB Kyle Manzardo
TB Xavier Isaac
TOR Damiano Palmegiani


I don’t want prospects, but if that was the option then Manzardo!

Wilbur Miller

Or not.

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