It is a lot easier to find the positives in a series sweep, but please don’t mistake this for foolish optimism. I realize that three games don’t completely make up for such an awful start to the season; just let me be happy for a couple of moments because as Gary so eloquently stated, It’s OK to Enjoy Momentary Success Pirates Fans. However, even in winning three games against divisional foes,the Milwaukee Brewers, there were bound to be some negatives that found their way to the surface. That’s simply how things go for a team working it’s way through a rebuild.
1) Jacob Stalling’s offense is catching up with his already solid defense. Stallings has a .300 AVG and a .786 OPS to go along with his 3 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), good for 4th in all of MLB amongst catchers.
2) Richard Rodriguez earns his first save to add to an already impressive season. On the season RichRod owns a 3.09 ERA and a .51 WHIP in 11 appearances. He has also totaled 16 strike outs in 11.2 innings.
3) Gregory Polanco finds his bat. After being listed on the opposite side of the pendulum following the Indians series, Polanco went 5 for 10 against the Brew Crew with 2 home runs, including what would be the game winner in the 8th inning of Sunday’s contest.
4) Bryan Reynolds appears to have gotten his stroke back. Reynolds had himself a game on Friday night; going 3 for 4 with a triple and a homer, while knocking in 4 runs. He continued his success the remainder of the series and finished 6 for 13 overall. Not only did he hit well over the weekend, he looked more comfortable in the box and in his approach than he had all season.
5) The Pirates Starters put together three pretty strong performances. None of the three would totally blow you away, but they were each enough to give their team a chance to win the game. On Friday Chad Kuhl went 5 innings, giving up only one run despite not having his best stuff. Saturday, Derek Holland also went 5 as he struck out 5 and allowed only one run. The Pirates Starter for Sunday had a final line of 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 6 strike outs along with 1 free pass on 76 pitches in 4 innings of work.
1) The Dovydas Neverauskas Experiment May be coming to an end. Neverauskas finds himself on the negative side of things for the second series in a row as he gave up another 3 runs on Saturday night; raising his ERA on the season to 11.00.
2) The injuries continue to pile up for the Pirates. Kela would only face one batter on Friday night, giving up a single, before he was removed from the game with tightness in his forearm. On Sunday the Pirates lost two more players to injuries. Colin Moran was removed from the game to be evaluated for a concussion and Kevin Newman was forced to leave with right lower abdominal muscle discomfort. Hopefully, none of these injuries are too severe and they can return to play sooner rather than later.
3) Erik Gonzalez has cooled off significantly. Since August 14th Gonzalez has seen his average drop from .349 to .273. Also during this time he has only one extra base hits and has struck out 7 times in 23 at bats; doubling his total for the season.
4) Nick Mears is sent back to Altoona again. In this instance I don’t really want to focus on the productivity. I would much rather take a look at a young kid being treated like a yo-yo. Have a good performance and you get sent down. Have a below average performance and you get sent down. I do like the experience and exposure he is getting, we just need to make sure he is also getting the right message.
5) The Pirates are still only 7-17 on the season. This just needs to said to keep things in perspective. Sure it is nice to see a sweep and there were many players that performed well, but it doesn’t completely change the outlook on the entire season.
Now let’s hope that the Pirates can build upon the positives, especially the individual ones, moving forward as they head into a quick two game series with the Chicago White Sox before taking on the St. Cardinals for a make-up double header on Thursday.