Pittsburgh Takes The First Game Of The Series from Atlanta In Extras

Without the early season injury to Chad Kuhl, Wil Crowe would have most likely have found himself bouncing between Triple A-Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, much like Miguel Yajure, at this point in the year; or as a long reliever option in the bullpen, which is where some believe he belongs, and eventually they could be right. However, after only five starts for the Pirates, and eight total in his Major League Career, I am not ready to make that call just yet. I realize his ceiling may not be as high as some of the more exciting prospects that Pittsburgh has in its Farm System, or even the two Rule 5 pitchers that will soon be on the roster, but sometimes it’s more beneficial to focus on the floor; at least for the moment.

To start the game Crowe struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman, both looking. Then, in the following innings he would find himself in trouble twice; with him giving up a three run homer to William Contreras in the bottom of the second, and striking out Freeman again to get out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fourth. After a scoreless fifth, he gave up his second homer of the day, this time to Dansby Swanson to lead of the sixth; which in all honesty I put on Derek Shelton. Swanson had Crowe’s number all night with a single and a double in his first two at bats.

Luckily this time the Pirates bats woke up to give their pitchers the support they needed, and then some. Jacob Stalings led of the scoring in the top of the first with a two run homer, Bryan Reynolds added a solo shot in the top of the sixth momentarily and Adam Frazier-who just can’t stop hitting-tied it up again on an RBI single in the top of the seventh.

These at bats, along with some shut down bullpen work led to an extra innings game at Truist Park. At this point Kevin Newman stepped up with an RBI single on his first hit of the night, Gregory Polanco added a run on a sacrifice fly and Richard Rodriguez shut the door for his third win on the season, as the Pirates walked away 6-4 winners in the first of four with the Braves.

News and Notes

  • Jacob Stallings has hit the ball extremely well over his last seven games. During this time he has batted .292 with three homers, obviously has had some pretty clutch at bats.

  • In previous News and Notes I have mentioned Bryan Reynolds prowess from the right side of the plate this year; now batting .362 with 2 homers and 8 doubles.

  • Richard Rodriguez has only given up ONE earned run in 18 appearances this season. He has also yet to allow a single homer, so I probably just jinxed him there.
  • In spite of some of there struggles, mostly individually, the Pirates bullpen has remained in or near the top 10 in all major categories; and are the number 6 bullpen in all of MLB according to Fangraphs.
  • After only pitching in one game in 2020 and being non-tendered in the off-season, Clay Homes has put together a fairly solid 2021 thus far. With a career low, 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, his somewhat surprising addition to the roster has worked out in the Pirates favor.

This evening at 7:20 PM EST it will be a Battle of the Andersons, as Tyler Anderson (3-3, 3.50 ERA) takes the mound for Pittsburgh against Ian Anderson (3-1, 3.20 ERA) for Atlanta.

May the best Anderson win!

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at InsidethePirates.com, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

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