At some point the Pirates need to put it all together in one game, tonight was not that night. The bats have been a few big swings away from doing nothing for two games straight now while the pitching has kept them in just about every contest.
Neither of these units are perfect, and they don’t need to be. But tonight a very good overall pitching performance by the staff, minus Michael Feliz really, fell apart with poor defense and an abysmal amount of support.
The Pirates are 1-3, have been in every ballgame, and they’ve won when they scored more than 3, lost when they scored 3 or less. The bullpen is strong enough to sustain this team if they can only get mediocre starting pitching. I think beside the obligatory blow up games that happen to everyone time to time they’ll keep the team in most contests.
So that puts the onus on the offense to show up. Without Ke’Bryan Hayes, Colin Moran has stepped up, Phillip Evans has stepped up. Reynolds has taken his walks and was rewarded tonight with a blast of his own, but by in large the bats aren’t enjoying the colder climate.
This will be the story all season. How many runs can this offense put up? If the answer is more than 3 I like their chances most nights, if the answer is less, I don’t.
Offense can even influence the final score further, because if it’s 3-0 Shelton might want to pitch his least steady option whereas 3-1 might mean a more reliable option. Offense showing up, even threatening by walking 11 times in a game stresses the opposition, and their staff. It’s essential to winning baseball and ultimately I like the pitching side’s answers more than the bats. And again that’s with mediocre starting pitching. One thing you can’t do is strikeout 15 times, many of which were 4 pitches or less. That’s not a competitive at bat and it’s not just Polanco. He’s the biggest target for a ton of reasons but he is by far not the only one. Anthony Alford and Dustin Fowler have been just as inept.
News & Notes
- Reynolds (1 RH), Moran (2) and Evans (1) all hit solo shots in the contest, not all GABP shots either. Evans jack went an estimated 446 feet.
- Derek Shelton trusted Rule 5 pickup Luis Oviedo in the fifth inning with a 2-1 lead. He would give up a homerun to Moustakas but finished with two strong innings. First, that’s a ton of trust for the 21 year old. Second I love it, because he’s the perceived biggest question mark and let’s go get the answer. Good start.
- JT Brubaker walked four in his four innings of work but he exited with only surrendering the one run. Now that is not where he wants to land, but Brubaker commanded his pitches well if not being a bit too nibbly with a hot hitting Reds lineup. He’ll improve, this was in no way what Keller has been doing in case you didn’t see the difference by watching both.
- Michael Feliz really struggled in his appearance, this is much of what we’ve seen from Feliz over the years. If the movement on the slider is too good he can’t control it, if it’s not good he get’s pounded. He has this sweet spot for spin rate and its like finding a four leaf clover at times.