On most nights I’d spend a decent amount of this column talking about hometown kid Randy Dobnak, and he was really good, tossing 6 innings of shut out ball, but tonight he wasn’t the story. Not alone at least.
Trevor Williams soared through 7 innings, giving up one run on just three hits. The run he gave up was a barely visible hit batsman and a bloop to left field. He had 9 swing and misses on his change up alone tonight. At one point he retired 13 straight Twins.
That’s a good summary of what Williams did tonight for the Pirates, but not an indication of the overall importance of what it meant for the club. News broke right before the game that Nick Burdi had been placed on the 45 day IL with an injury to his right elbow. Another hit for a unit that just cant take anymore.
No Pirates starter thus far has gone six full innings in this season, that would change tonight. Williams was everything he needed to be. Last week when Williams struggled in his start you’ll recall I labelled him a long man because he couldn’t get his pitch count under control. Prior to this contest he told Michael McHenry that he needed to not be afraid to come into the zone when he gets a batter to two strikes, he did exactly that. Kudos to Williams, that’s leadership. I’d like to see it more than once, but it’s a start.
Geoff Hartlieb came in and danced around loading the bases in the 8th to keep it a one run contest.
The Pirates bats were quiet, I know, put this on repeat. Bell got into one and drove a double to left and a bloop single, but aside from that, pedestrian at best. Even Moran has cooled.
Erik Gonzalez played a nice third base in his fifth straight start and recorded a hit. He’s probably the best pure defender on the club not named Reynolds and if his bat plays, don’t be shocked to see the Pirates continue to give him a test drive.
Hartlieb was asked to give the club a second inning tonight and I officially can’t question Shelton on his bullpen moves. There are no options, there aren’t any flawless trips through the back end of a game right now. Richard Rodriguez or Dovydas Neverauskas are neck and neck for who might be the closer right now.
Hartlieb surrendered a double to lead off against Buxton, then got a pop up and walked a man. Shelton called on Neverauskas to get those pesky two outs remaining. He gave up a base hit to Gonzalez making it 2-0. Then Kepler got into one, a Three run shot and Dovy officially has an ERA. 5-0 Twins.
JT Riddle got his first at bat of the season to lead off the inning and struck out. Noteworthy only because it was his first. Frazier walked, and Bell hit a garbage time homerun to center. 5-2
This was a nice game, well played overall but in the end if you’re forced to toss average pitchers at a lineup like the Twins bring with them, you aren’t going to win very often.
News & Notes:
- I’m hardly breaking news but Nick Burdi is done for the season. If you’re looking for good news on that front, Keone Kela has now thrown two BP sessions at PNC. Probably not too long for him now. But that’s one guy
- Josh Bell was 3 for 4 tonight a triple short of the cycle. More important his timing was on against three different pitchers. All from the left side, but honestly, he needed that and nothing could be better for the club.
- Erik Gonzalez is making a case that he deserves to start over Newman right now. He’s hitting at least as well and plays a better infield. I’m not predicting that’s how it will work out but right now he looks like the better player.