Pirates (20-32) Drop First of Two 7-3 to Royals, Kuhl Shaky in Return

A battle.

No, no I’m not making some Memorial Day equals baseball metaphor about this game. This time I’m talking about Chad Kuhl and Duane Underwood Jr, both battling their stuff, and controlling it all night.

First up was Chad, returning from a stint on the IL and he struggled from the start. No walks on his line doesn’t do justice for describing just how wild he was. He had no control of his arsenal save spotty ability to place his slider and he fought through 4 innings giving up 3 runs.

This was a frustrating start, his stuff is crazy good, really and the way he manages to flummox a legitimately good lineup with one pitch kinda working is truly what makes him so hard to just wash your hands of.

Next up was Underwood Jr. he too would struggle with command all 3 innings of his outing and again, no walks. The Royals would pick up 2 runs on a bomb by Aldoberto Mondesi.

The Pirates started the scoring in this one as hitting machine Adam Frazier led the game off with a double, Newman moved him over with a fly ball to the track, and Reynolds ground out to score the run.

Jacob Stallings would come through later with a two out single.

And in the 8th, Reynolds got some retribution for a wide strike zone all night.

In the bottom of the 8th, now down two the Pirates went to Luis Oviedo who gave up a lead off double and came close to getting out of it with a double play, but alas another two runs came across to make it 7-3 Royals. Could have been worse if not for a fabulous running catch by Polanco. (not a typo)

Back at it tomorrow as the Pirates send Wil Crowe to face Brady Singer at 8:10 in Kansas City.

News & Notes

  • The Pirates promoted Max Kranick to AAA Indianapolis tonight. He’s started 3 games and posted a 4.02 ERA, but a 1.02 WHIP. In reality the promotion isn’t about his numbers as much as showing the command of the fastball they were looking for, this is something I think we can expect to see more of, the veteran players like De Jong get a look, and the movable players start to make their way up the organizational depth chart.
  • The home plate umpire tonight was giving strike calls consistently two baseballs off the left side of the plate. I stress consistently, because as anybody who plays will tell you, that’s all they expect. Now Bryan Reynolds batting right handed much of the night against a lefty starter continued to just take pitches out there resulting in a couple strikeouts. This is always an interesting thing in the game. Now is it better as a hitter to not leave your game plan or look outside your zone for one game, or is it better to just deal with it for a night and stay consistent within yourself? I mean, Reynolds is consistent, so it’s hard to argue with his approach, just an interesting part of the game, and it certainly didn’t hurt him when he crushed a homerun in the 8th.
  • I think the Pirates kinda tipped their hand a bit tonight, it looked like they had every intention of using Kuhl and Underwood together tonight. I’m not sure I see the brilliance here, seems to me if you have guys who can actually start and don’t need the opener stuff, use them instead, but ok, seems like it’s gonna be a thing. Honestly, I feel it will weaken a strength on this club, the pen.
  • Ka’ai Tom had 2 official at bats tonight and had 2 walks. He’s really good at drawing walks, but at some point you have to start doing some damage too. Hard to say he doesn’t take a good at bat, he makes drawing a walk the goal at times it seems and I’m not sure that ever makes him matter enough.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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