Pirates, Holland Lose 11-5 as First Innings Looked More Like Home Run Derby

The Pirates and Tigers had a slobber knocker last night putting up a combined 30 runs and wreaking havoc on one another’s bullpens. Today the Pirates sent Derek Holland to the mound hoping for minimally stability while the Tigers countered with old friend Ivan Nova.

Before anyone could get too comfortable, Derek Holland gave up four homeruns in eleven pitches. Let me say that again, just to make sure you don’t think this was a silly typo. 4 homeruns, scoring 5 runs on 11 pitches. He needed 43 pitches to get through the first and the Pirates sorely needed some length from him with over half the bloated bullpen at least on the ‘really like to not use’ list today. So he went back out and in the second coughed up another. Then he settled in finishing 5 innings with 102 pitches. The desperation of the situation with the staff should really be clear with this next move, they trotted him back out for the sixth.

Holland would surrender another homerun and two basehits before giving the inning over to Rookie Nick Mears who gave up a few more. This guy has all of 5 games in AA so what could you expect really. He has velocity hitting 98 but he also has little else, something they’ve yet to develop.

I shouldn’t ignore that the Pirates took the wood to last year’s AL leader in hits surrendered. The Bucs put five runs on Nova and used patient at bats to uncover some rare wildness from the big man. Now, if Nova had faced Polanco 27 times he’s have a perfect game. That was a matchup that bailed out Nova multiple times today.

In the sixth inning as young Mears was trying to find his way through his first action in MLB, Phillip Evans playing his first game at first base in the bigs trucked out to right field tracking a bermuda triangle pop fly, Polanco doing the same heading the other direction. Evans took an elbow right in the eye socket from the big Dominican and seemed to be instantly knocked out. He was moving and even smiling but was removed on a back board. I’ll let someone else deliver updates but needless to say, that’s not a guy you want to lose and personally, he’s had a hell of a long road and was taking full advantage of a team giving him an opportunity. Well wishes Phillip Evans.

The Bucs were chipping away prior to the 6th climbing all the way back to down 6-5 but the Evans injury seemed to take the air out of their sails.

In the top of the ninth down 11-5 the Pirates chose to send John Ryan Murphy out to pitch and he set the side down in order on 8 pitches. I’m struck even more so knowing we had this option and still used Del Pozo. I’m kidding, but only a little.

The Bucs started the bottom half of the 9th against the majestic mustache of Kyle Funkhouser in his second inning of work. Stallings singled and Frazier grounded into a force. Then Kevin Newman laced his fourth hit of the game putting two on and at least made the Tigers uncomfortable. Murphy who had just pitched replaced Bell as the DH and was robbed on a liner to right for the second out. Gregory Polanco finished his night 0-5 and the Tigers win 11-5.

Back at it tomorrow afternoon, Joe Musgrove takes the hill.

News & Notes:

  • A Record! That’s the first time a Pirate has ever given up four homeruns in the first inning. Another tidbit, the last person to give up 4 homeruns in an inning for the Pirates oddly enough was Ivan Nova who gave up five. You can’t make this stuff up.
  • Kevin Newman stood up and said not so fast on taking his position (although Evans injury means Gonzalez can just keep taking at bats by playing 3rd) Nice day at the plate for the youngster.
  • Gregory Polanco went 0-5 today and looked awful doing it.
  • Joe Musgrove needs to plan on doing the same thing Holland did today if he has a rough start. That’s just where we are.
  • We will and you should keep an eye on the Cardinals. The series scheduled to start Monday is at least in jeopardy although some players have come out questioning the reporting. Regardless, it could actually be a welcome break for a team who’s bullpen is destroyed.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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