As the series with the Cubs ended and the one against the Twins began there wasn’t much to be positive about. The Pirates pitchers were dropping left and right to injuries and the bats were silent, except for some late inning heroics that ultimately fell short. The negatives were abundantly clear and every Yinzer with a social media account was all too happy to point them out. Sadly for the first few games facing Minnesota, the concerns continued to grow while the silver linings became harder and harder see. Even in the final game, with a Pirates victory, there was a mixed bag to unpack and examine prior to the boys from Detroit showing up at PNC for the weekend.
1) Holland remained consistent in spite of what the line may imply. Through 5 innings Derek Holland had not allowed a run. He did get himself into a little trouble in the 6th, but the damage could have been keep to a minimum if it weren’t for a misplayed ball in centerfield and three straight walks by the pitcher who was brought in to put out the fire. In the end the line of 4 runs on 4 hits, two walks and 5 strikeouts didn’t match the performance.
2) Phillip Evans continues to impress with the bat. For the series Evans went 5 for 13 with 3 RBIs, leaving his batting average sitting at .344 on the year. This is a pleasant surprise from a guy that wasn’t even expected to make the opening day roster when he was added as a minor league free agent back in December.
3) Trevor Williams bounces back and has the best start of the year. Williams pitched 7 full innings on 98 pitches, striking out 5, walking 1 and allowing only 1 run on 3 hits. Unfortunately this effort was wasted as he was provided no run support, earning his third loss of the year.
4) Josh Bell hit like himself for at least one game. On the same night Williams was mowing down Twins, Bell looked to be back in form; going 3 for 4 with a 9th inning blast to the bushes to put the Pirates on the board.
5) The Pirates put one up in the Win Column and Raise The Jolly Roger after what seemed like an eternity. It took a team effort and 8 1/3 innings, but a pinch hit single by Kevin Newman lifted the Buccos to victory in the last game of a 4 game home-and-home series against the Twins, avoid a second straight sweep.
1) Another day, another injured Pirates Pitcher. On Wednesday, the young flamethrower Nick Burdi became the most recent in a line of Pirates pitchers to find himself on the IL. It is extremely disappointing as we have watched this guy fight his way back from a heart wrenching injury and surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, only to be shut down again after 3 appearances and 2.1 innings.
2) Musgrove has his worst outing of the year and drops to 0-3. Big Joe only lasted 3.1 innings on 84 pitches, while giving up 5 runs (3 in the 1st inning) on 6 hits. His command/control was just a little bit off, resulting in 5 free passes and 2 strikeouts. In his previous two starts he had struck out 7 and 8 respectively and had walked 6 total.
3) Williams’ 7 inning outing is spoiled by an imploding bullpen. After Trevor had exited the game Geoff Hartlieb and Dovydas Neverauskas allowed 4 earned runs over two innings. Hartlieb did not record a strike and walked 3, while Neverauskas struck out 2, but gave up a backbreaking 3 run homer to Max Kepler in the top of the 9th.
4) Miguel Del Pozo. 0 Strikeouts and 8 walks in 2.1 innings of work equals a 21.60 ERA and a 6.00 WHIP.
5) The Pirates have only 3 wins. Of course things could have been a little bit better if Pittsburgh had not blown a couple of late inning leads or the bats would have woken up a tad bit earlier at times. However, this is where the Pirates sit after 13 games. I only hope that it doesn’t get any worse.
Today the Pirates look to start a winning streak, there first of the season, as Chad Kuhl (0-0, 1.80 ERA) takes the mound against the Tigers of Detroit at 7:05 PM EST from PNC Park.