Last night the Pirates snapped their eight game losing streak with an impressive 5-1 victory; with some strong performances from two somewhat unlikely sources, Steven Brault and Gregory Polanco . Brault went the distance for the first complete game of his career, allowing only one run on two hits and Polanco put the Pirates up for good with a three run homer in the 6th inning with two on and two out. Would the magic from last night continue or would the Pirates suffer from a hangover? Thanks (or possibly no thanks) to a twin bill from PNC Park there was going to be a decent amount of baseball to judge from.
Trevor Williams took the mound and proceeded put on a performance that has become commonplace for him, as he allowed five earned runs on seven hits, two of them homers, on 83 pitches across four full innings. As both Gary and I have stated on several occasions, Williams absolutely can’t just have a starting role handed to him going into 2020. After ten starts he now has a 6.75 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP, which completely puts to rest any arguments about lack run support when it comes to his 1-8 record.
The Pirates scored their first two runs exactly how you would expect them to, without registering a single hit, thanks to a catcher’s interference call and a sac fly. In the bottom of the fourth the Legend of Ke’Bryan Hayes continued to grow as a broken bat bloop single brought in three, one of them thanks to a misplayed ball by Tommy Edman. Unfortunately, they would only register one more hit for the remainder of the game and fell in the first game 6-5.
In the second game starters Chad Kuhl and Daniel Ponce de Leon both got off on the right foot through the first three and a half innings, allowing only one hit a piece. Kuhl eventually found himself in a little bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth, but was able to escape with only one run against him. de Leon, who had already struck out eight Pirates batters, wasn’t so lucky as he let a four seamer slip away from him against Bryan Reynolds, which was quickly deposited into the river for a 2-1 lead.
Then everything went off the rails as the Pirates allowed the Cardinals to score six runs in the bottom of the six, capped off by a two run homer by the rookie, Dylan Carlson; and it all started with a catcher’s interference. After this half inning tension and frustration filled the air, ultimately resulting in Jacob Stallings’ ejection and a 7-2 loss for the Pirates.
This series seems like it should already be over, but there are still two games left to play; starting with a 7:05 EST matchup between Mitch Keller (1-1, 5.06 ERA) and Kwang Hyun Kim (2-0, .63 ERA).
News and Notes:
- Trevor Williams is now tied for the MLB lead in home runs allowed with 14.
- Geoff Hartlieb has now struggled in two straight appearances, giving up two walks and striking out none. However, he was able to escape with out giving up a run. Looking at the advanced metrics Hartlieb has posted a 1.48 WHIP, a 4.75 FIP and 6.98 BB/9. Now I am not saying he hasn’t performed well this year, I would just be prepared for some possible regression.
- Sam Howard, pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, striking out two; leaving the door open for a potential comeback in the bottom of the seventh.
- The Cardinals literally tried to hand the first game to the Pirates on several occasions with four errors and eight free passes.
- In spite of the final score and the loss, Chad Kuhl pitched pretty well. Only one of his four runs was earned and he struck out six.
- Bryan Reynolds went 2 for 3 in the second game and hit a ball into the river. This does make up for the fact that he has a .182 AVG and a .618 OPS on the season.