Pirates (14-20) Lose Big to Reds 14-1

There are nights when nothing goes right. For the Pirates so far this season that’s been the case in every matchup with the Reds. Pitching, hitting, hey name an aspect, it probably failed in some way.

Complaining about the lineup on a night by night basis is a like opening the national debt counting website every morning and having fresh rage and consternation. There’s not much to be done that is really going to impact the issues short of health, and if we’re honest, it wasn’t going to be enough most nights even then.

Adam Frazier is a fine second baseman and he’s hitting more than enough to be effective. Bryan Reynolds is strong, but he’s not designed to be a guy that carries the weight of a lineup on his shoulders, few are.

They need more from most of the lineup and when you don’t have a ton of talent, it’s hard to solely blame the hitting coach, but at some point it becomes fair to ask, who’s he helping?

Don’t think that’s fair? OK, maybe it’s the talent evaluators.

Maybe it’s just the stage they’re in and it’s exactly what we should expect. Yeah, I mean I know this one is right, but point stands, isn’t part of this to be about improving guys who are here already?

Hey, you can think it’s too early to ask questions like that, and maybe it is, but at some point helping Ke’Bryan Hayes discover something in his swing last season doesn’t help enough players. These are things that will continue to be evaluated as the season progresses, but make no mistake, he’s expected to find something in someone.

Feels weird to have gotten this far without mentioning Mitch Keller, but man, it looked like two different games.

For the first three innings Mitch was on point, hitting his spots, challenging hitters. Sure he surrendered a solo shot to Suarez in the second but he jumped right back to attack mode.

Then in the fourth he surrendered a soft serve single and a walk.

Click click boom, it was over right there. He lost it.

Stopped placing the fastball and started having it find the middle of the plate instead of the outer or inner third.

The Reds didn’t miss.

The list of pitchers who had all the talent in the world and couldn’t ever put it all together is longer than those who have. The Pirates have had plenty. Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, Jason Schmidt, Kip Wells, you know I could go on. Reach this kid here, or reach him in AAA, but this development staff needs to show they can help him.

Underwood Jr. came in and largely cleaned up the mess then Oviedo got pelted around a bit. Geoff Hartlieb also gave up several runs.

All around poor performance.

Back at it tomorrow with JT Brubaker versus Jeff Hoffman. This is a good pitching matchup for the Pirates, but the bats have to make it matter.

News & Notes

  • What do you do with Mitch Keller? If he was pitching like Wil Crowe you’d never even consider sending him down when Chad Kuhl comes back, but maybe that’s the play here. The only reason I’d choose Crowe would be his options, but maybe this is something they’ll consider. You have to admit, you probably think even Cahill is better most times out. Show them that if you earn it you get it, and if you don’t, well, you don’t.
  • Jacob Stallings hit a homerun in the second to tie the game and erase the solo shot Keller gave up in the second.
  • Adam Frazier was 2 for 3 with a walk, Bryan Reynolds was 2 for 2 with 2 walks, and Jacob Stallings hit that bomb. Ladies and Gentlemen, your Pittsburgh Pirates offense, not just tonight, most nights. Hitting is contagious, I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, well so is not hitting. The few who have continued to provide just about all the offense are to be commended.
  • Tonight’s “Most in tact trailer after the Tornado” award goes to Phillip Evans who made some really nice plays at first base tonight.
  • Ben Gamel got in the game tonight to play 1st base. I wasn’t aware this was in his toolkit, but he looked ok over there. Hey, that might come in handy. Shelton said they were just trying to get Adam Frazier a break in a blowout with the move.
  • Gregory Polanco will reportedly be back with the team in the coming days according to Ben Cherington. Not sure we know this whole story yet, but whatever happened they could use his bat, and yes I’m aware of his average. If he hits one homerun a week it might just pace the club.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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