The Pirates for the first time since game two, had all the components present and accounted for who constituted their opening day lineup. On paper it certainly looks better than we’ve seen in quite some time, and as someone who tries to temper expectations pretty often, it’s actually not a bad thing to face the Dodgers right now.
The Bucs are coming off consecutive series with the Rockies and Marlins, each struggling for different reasons but struggling nonetheless. Even as the players slowly trickled back in one by one so too did the confidence in the lineup grow.
This is a reality check series. And it certainly started that way.
JT Brubaker worked through 4 innings of scoreless ball the fifth was not as kind. Players started making good contact off him, but nothing hurt worse than Gregory Polanco turning a single that he did well to reach into a 1 out triple.
Two Bryan Reynolds all out diving attempts later the score was two nothing and Shelton went to Chasen Shreve who got the groundball he was looking for but it snuck through to score a 3rd run.
Walker Buhler gave up a first inning home run to Ke’Bryan Hayes, that, um, ended up being an out. More in the notes about this play. Then loaded the bases in the 2nd with two outs but JT Brubaker was the batter, the expected result took place.
After that, either Buhler completely dialed it in or the Pirates just got frustrated, honestly, a combination of those two.
Chris Stratton came in for the 6th and promptly gave up a two run shot to make it 5-0.
The bottom of the 8th the Phil Evans singled and two productive outs moved him to third setting the stage for Adam Frazier to extend his hitting streak and drive in the run with one double worthy swing of the bat.
In the bottom of the ninth Bryan Reynolds led off with an opposite field homerun into the bullpen to make it 5-2. 107.7 off the bat and 418 feet. He has really found his power stroke. On a really good pace to crack 25 if he keeps this up.
Two outs later Michael Perez hit a pinch hit homerun to make it 5-3.
With two outs in the ninth the Dodgers were forced to go to Kenley Jansen who struck out Phillip Evans to end the game.
We can discuss a lot of things about this team, but if you want a snapshot of why they are where they are, here you go.
Back at it tomorrow with Tony Gonsolin squaring off against Tyler Anderson.
News & Notes
- Phillip Evans was activated today and so was Mitch Keller. The corresponding moves were to option Austin Davis and in at least a bit of a surprise they DFA’d Wilmer Difo. Eh, someone had to go, I guess. If I’m honest, I’m not sure Evans is an upgrade over Difo. Hardly matters really.
- In this weeks installment of you might never see that again, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a homerun and missed first base, so he was out on appeal. I’ve seen people blame the 1st base coach, and the dugout, but Ke’ would take blame I’m quite sure for his own error. Sometimes a guy just makes a bad play, it’s ok if the player is the only one to take blame for it. I’ve never seen a first base coach on a home run distance fly ball stare at first base, that said, who in the building isn’t watching it fly? Just a mistake.
- Despite Polanco’s error tonight, he’s actually been pretty good in the outfield of late. I know saying something positive about him is bad for ratings, but this isn’t typical of how he’s looked recently.
- Adam Frazier has gotten more attention but Bryan Reynolds now had 9 homeruns and came into the game with an OBP of .390 pacing the team if you don’t count the extremely small sample size of Hayes.
- Tonight makes 11 straight losses vs the Dodgers
- This was Brubaker’s shortest outing since April. 4.2 innings