With a couple of tough late inning loses to the Brewers and a extremely quiet trade deadline, much like we had predicted all along, there isn’t much for Pirates Fans to be excited about following a series loss to the Brewers; who they had swept in fairly convincing fashion just one week ago. However, in a season of evaluation there are bound to be some positives, even if you have to search for them a little bit harder in a sea of negatives.
1) Jacob Stallings just keeps on hitting. Stallings played in 3 of the 4 games, collecting a hit each contest. It should be noted that the last two hits were doubles, which now brings his extra base hit total to five on the season.
2) Cole Tucker’s bat might be coming around. Tucker was a combined 3 for 12 in the series and has raised his average by almost .100 over the last few weeks to .243.
3) Sam Howard is quietly having himself a season. Howard pitched 3 scoreless innings during the four game set, not allowing a single hit during this time. On the year he has compiled a 2.77 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP to go along with 17 strikeouts in 13 innings.
4) Josh Bell looked like his old self for at least two at bats over the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday Bell homered, one from each side of the plate. His home run on Sunday took me back to the river blasts he became known for during his near historic stretch last season.
5) Nick Tropeano has yet to give up a run as a Pirate. Yes I know, small sample size, but it is worth noting. In 6.2 innings of work he has also struck out 6 and also earned a win in Sunday’s contest.
1) Trevor Williams has been healthy to the best of my knowledge, but has continued to struggle. His last start against the White Sox had been a disastrous one as he allowed 8 earned runs on 9 hits, 3 of these home runs, while striking out 3 and walking 2 in 6 innings of work. Last night he was obviously a little better as he allowed only 3 earned runs and struck out 6, but still only lasted 4 innings due to an elevated pitch count, which has been a consistent problem for him this year.
2) Kevin Newman’s fielding has me concerned. In last nights game Newman’s two throwing errors directly led to 2 unearned runs for the Brewers. So far this year he has 5 errors, but when compounded out over a full season this total rises to 24. This would be twice as many errors as he had last year.
3) Nik Turley has struggled in his last two outings. After earning his first career save in the second game of the double header versus the Cardinals this past Thursday, Turley has given up 3 earned runs, while only striking out one in 1.2 innings and two appearances. On the year Turley has also walked almost as many batters, eight, as he has struck out, 10, in 13 total innings.
4) Gregory Polanco continues to be inconsistent. This probably means that he will continue to jump between the positives and negatives for the remainder of the season or eventually get his own category. Polanco homered on Sunday, his 4th of the season, but also struck out 3 times in 9 at bats; bringing his total to 37 Ks in 79 at bats.
5) After dropping 3 of 4 from the Brewers, the Pirates are 10-22 on the season. I know that many of us did not expect the Pirates to be truly competitive, but few imagined it would be this bad. Overall the Pirates continue to struggle in almost every facet of the game.
I would like to say that things are going to get better, but with the 1st Place Cubs coming to town it might get worse. The first contest of the three game series is scheduled for tonight at 7:05 EST, with Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.52 ERA) scheduled to take on Jon Lester (2-1, 4.55 ERA).