In first installment of Yinzer Reactions I talked about the overreactions of Pirates’ Fans both positive and negative, which change from day to day and even moment to moment within a game, almost like riding a wave. This series versus the Milwaukee Brewers was no different; from the collapse of the bullpen in the 9th on Monday to the breakdown and comeback in the second game and finally the silencing of the Pirates bats in the finale. Add in everything that happened in between and it becomes clear that there is no shortage of positive and negative takeaways for this Yinzer to discuss from Pittsburgh’s second series of the season.
1) Chad Kuhn’s first appearance in a regular season game since 2018 met the high expectations that many of us had set for him. This was the first time that Kuhl has stepped on the mound in a regular season game since June 26, 2018 versus the Mets and it looked like he hadn’t skipped a beat; actually it appeared as if he had even improved. He threw 3.2 innings of scoreless ball, while striking out 4. Of course he did walk 2 and allow 3 hits, but it never seemed like he wasn’t in control.
2) Derek Holland’s first start in a Pirates uniform went very well and could provide a veteran presence to hold the rotation together. We all are aware of the good vibes and passion that Holland brings to the clubhouse, but I was not sure this would transfer over to the playing field after a few years in a row of average to below average work as a starter and out of the bullpen. If it wasn’t for one pitch to a Keston Hiura his line would have looked even better, however, all in all it was a solid start for the Dutch Oven. In 5 2/3 innings he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and struck out 5. He did give up 3 free passes, was charged with a wild pitch and hit a batter.
3) Richard Rodriguez pitched two spotless innings in the series.
After giving up a two run home run in his first appearance of the season in the opener against the Cardinals, Rich Rod made two appearances in the Brewers series; striking out 3 batters, walking none and not allowing a hit in 2.0 innings. This is obviously a small sample size, but it was nice to seem him bounce back from a less than optimal start to the year.
4) Burdi continues to impress as the team’s closer in Kela’s absence.
Although it may be the case that Burdi may not be available as often as we would all like to coming back from an injury and surgery, when he has pitched it has been extremely fun to watch. On Tuesday night he recorded his first major league save with a walk and a strike out followed by a double play. In his first two outings of the season he has made quick work of the opposing batters; striking out 4 and walking 1 on only 26 pitches.
5) Bryan Reynolds’s arm is for real. He now has a total of 3 outfield assists on the season, including one inning in each of the last two games against Milwaukee and all of them at home plate.
1) Josh Bell continues his slow start to the season. In the series Bell was 2 for 13 with 4 strikeouts. After 6 games he is batting .174 and has yet to collect an extra base hit.
2) Joe Musgrove gives up two more home runs in his second start of the season. Big Joe has 15 strike outs through the first 11.1 innings, so things have not been all bad. However, when he is not striking out batters he is giving up home runs, 2 in each game so far.
3) The Pirates Bullpen remains inconsistent. From Feliz to Crick on Monday night to Stratton and Del Pozo on Tuesday it is clear that that the bullpen has continued to be a crap shoot. Even in earning his first big league win, Geoff Hartlieb was bailed out by two outfield assist from Reynolds and Heredia.
4) The three options that Pittsburgh have tried out for in the leadoff position have mostly struggled. I am not going to take the eventual game winning two-run homer run from Adam Frazier, but outside of that there has been no dependability in the leadoff spot for the Pirates. Frazier has a .125 AVG and a .192 OBP, Kevin Newman has a .063 AVG and a .167 OBP and Jarrod Dyson isn’t any better with a .071 AVG and and a .071 OBP. One of these guys has to be better or Derek Shelton maybe looking to Phillip Evans to step in and see what he can do.
5) The Pirates managed just one “hit” in the final game versus the Brewers and struck out a combined 14 times. If it wasn’t for a single by Phillip Evans to the Brewers catcher the Pirates would have been no-hit in the sixth game of the season. Not taking anything away from Brandon Woodruff and the rest of the Brewers pitchers, the effort by the Pirates batters in that can’t be described as anything but lethargic.
Now I know I missed some positives, such as the two hit games from Reynolds and Cole Tucker of the two home run game from Colin Moran; as well as some clear negatives, but you can’t cover it all. So let me know what you think of the lists I compiled, what I missed and look for another Yinzer Reactions following the Pirates weekend series with the Cubs.