Shane Bieber was the story tonight, just as Civale was in last night’s contest. The contrast was clear, Bieber cut through the lineup for six innings and eleven strikeouts only running into trouble on the basepaths once. The Pirates starting with Trevor Williams struggled but kept things clean only surrendering one run until the 8th as Chris Stratton went walk,single,walk to load the bases with nobody out.
He got a grounder to first and Bell’s throw home pulled Stallings up the line and ever so slightly off the plate making it 2-0 and leaving the bases loaded. Gonzalez got an opportunity and they get the out at home this time. Even Stratton continued the trend of tap dancing out of the erratic pitching to only surrender one run.
A scoreless top of the ninth from Turley and the Pirates came up with Riddle, Tucker and Dyson for the bottom half. So Shelton turned to Reynolds to pinch hit for Riddle, batting from the right side against Hand and he struck out looking. Tucker remained and flew out to center. Murphy pinch hit for Dyson and appropriately struck out ending the game 2-0.
Now, that’s the game story, time for some discussion points. I’m sorry to break it out like this but there were so many strange things this game had to offer I just didn’t want to veer off subject repeatedly.
Let’s start with Josh Bell, he had a base hit tonight, but in his first at bat he looked so jumpy I thought for a moment he might jump to the other batters box. To make matters worse, the broadcast cut to a scene of Eckstein and Shelton ‘coaching’ him about his swing and stance prior to the game. If they really told him to go up there and dance like he needed to pee, I’ve never seen such a thing. That’s something you allow if some kid comes up and he’s done it all his life and it’s always worked for him, even then you look for the first slump to beat it out of him. Unfathomable.
Colin Moran got ejected for telling an ump he made a terrible call. Now, I know usually there’s crowd noise, but I’ve heard FAR worse. I think the umps are becoming very aware of everything that can be heard on the field. What a joke of an ejection. It was a bad call, and I rarely critique check swings but for good measure the same ump had the same call against Frazier later in the evening. Both were just no way swings, period.
Osuna hasn’t played much, tonight he got his second start in a row. He went 0-4 after recording a single yesterday. I don’t know what he did to get in the dog house but these two games aren’t likely to dig him out.
The offense faced really good pitching the last two nights, but the at bats aren’t even competitive. There’s a reason hitters try to get into hitter’s counts, because they work, this club as a whole is just not making it look hard for opposing hurlers.
Is that enough weird for you? Much of this lineup, ok not specifically the one they used tonight, but most of what they returned on offense really were nothing short of outstanding in 2019. Can’t blame all of it on this shortened season, at some point a few of these guys that we thought of as solutions, maybe aren’t. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see Reynolds hit his way out of this, and I trust he will although he sure looks frustrated which doesn’t suit the normally stoic young man. Bell looks like he’s reaching for air as he falls off a cliff.
Dreams of trading people at the deadline, at least from the offensive side of the ball, should probably be tempered a bit. I personally don’t think it will be all that active anyway, but right now you’d be hard pressed to find anyone you wouldn’t be selling low.