Pirates (12-14) Bullpen Can’t Keep the Cardinals in Check, Lose 12-5

Trevor Cahill didn’t have it tonight. He gave up 4 runs in the first inning, then he gave up another run, and somehow I looked up sometime early in the 6th and there he was, still pitching. He also didn’t end up being the story.

Derek Shelton made a very odd move, after Trevor threw a ball to Jack Flaherty who was trying to bunt, the runner took off for second and Perez drilled him with the throw which moved the runner to third. Then Shelton pulled Cahill for Sam Howard. In the middle of an at bat, against a pitcher, with one out. Brilliant move. Honestly.

You can’t just let Flaherty, who can hit a little, make contact and bring home the run there, so instead of the contact educing Cahill he went to the swing and miss stuff of Howard.

That’s different folks. That’s not just reading from the instruction manual. That’s not worrying about hurting a veteran’s feelings, because it was best for the situation.

That’s trying to win.

If you want to instill it in your players, it stands to reason you better show it. The reason this team can continue to fight back in games they could easily collapse in after shaky starts is embodied in the way their coach handled that very situation.

On the flip side, using Poppen in the 9th to preserve a 2 run deficit was questionable at best. The Cardinals would take the easy insurance and put the game away.

That’s not trying to win.

Bucs fall 12-5 and drop the first two games in the series to the Cardinals. They had a chance in this one, but the bullpen faltered.

Back at it tomorrow at 1:05 as Carlos Martinez faces Wil Crowe and the Bucs look to salvage one in the series.

News & Notes

  • Ka’ai Tom at the plate, looks competent. He takes a great approach and has shown the ability to make solid contact. In the field, he’s literally costing runs. As Derek Shelton said the other day, he was trying to make a play, and I get that too, but you also have to know your limitations. Surrender the single, instead of creating a double.
  • There was a weird moment in the 7th. Jordan Hicks had just thrown ball 3 for a full count and made a little face after the pitch. Nolan Arenado called time and for the trainers to come out and the Cards removed him from the game after he protested. Not sure I’ve ever seen a position player initiate something like that.
  • So, in that same 7th inning, Bryan Reynolds who stood around for what felt like 10 minutes with a 3-2 count, crushed the first pitch Genesis Cabrera threw for a double scoring Adam Frazier.
  • The Wooers must be found and banished for life.
  • Pirates 3-5 hitters tonight (Reynolds, Moran, and Polanco) were very effective. Racking up 7 hits in 16 at bats and 4 RBI. Adam Frazier continues to swing a hot bat leading off. This team is most nights a Ke’Bryan Hayes away from a legit good 1-5. The overall offense came into tonight ranking 27th in baseball for runs scored, lack of power will do that to you, but you can see how it could change with that one addition.
  • This game was very reminiscent of Wednesday night’s loss to the Royals. Starter struggled, long relieve didn’t hold the line, offense tried o fight back, middle relief didn’t hold the line, offense tried again but fell short. We’ve raved about the bullpen, and rightfully so, but there have been a couple now that fall squarely on their shoulders.
  • According to Ben Cherrington, expect this club to make Mitch Keller stay right where he is and work through things. They think they’ve found some things. (Just telling you, not telling you what to believe)
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes reportedly has not caught a ball or swung a bat. He is apparently going on the road trip with the club which you’d have to think means they think he’ll be back during the trip, but it’s so hard to say. Simply have to make sure he’s at the very least not at risk of making it worse before he returns.
  • As much as I respect the move Shelton made early in the game, using Poppen in the 9th to keep the team 2 runs shy was an odd choice at best. He would surrender 5 runs. What really made this curious is coming off a week with 2 off days, it seemed odd to use some of the best parts of the bullpen to keep it close all game, then not use one to keep it close when it really mattered.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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