Pirates Take Advantage Of The Wounded Red Birds

The last time the Pirates faced off against the Cardinals in the middle of May, St. Louis was sitting pretty at 25-18, a top the NL Central by 3.5 games over the Cubs and having taken the last 11 games from their Divisional Opponents. Flash forward a little over a month and the same Cardinals started the day only 9 games ahead of the last place Pirates, with a 36-38 record. Currently the Red Birds have a lineup that ranks near the middle of the pack, however, their pitching staff sits near the bottom at 24th; which is a unwelcome change of pace for the usually reliable hurlers from the Gateway To The West.

In this particular game, these recent hardships were on full display, as Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez walked seven Pirates, struck out only two and allowed five runs on five hits-including a 4th inning three run jack to Bryan Reynolds. His relief didn’t fare much better as former Bucco, Wade LeBlanc gave up two homers of his own to Adam Frazier and Phillip Evans.

On the opposite side of the coin, St. Louis didn’t do themselves any favors either has the only totaled four hits for the game, as the Pirates took the first of four by a score of 8 to 2.

News and Notes

  • Prior to last season’s trade deadline, teams such as the Blue Jays and Braves had shown some interest in Chad Kuhl’s services. At the time Kuhl was sporting a 2.52 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, but had just gotten himself stretched out to go to a full starters length. This season he has dealt with early season struggles, a stint on the IL with right shoulder discomfort and once again ramping back up. Currently his ERA (5.05) and WHIP (1.41) are obviously nothing to write home about; however in the month of June he has a 3.80 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. With a full month to go until the trade deadline, it is possible that Kuhl could build some of his trade stock back up-which at that time some Pirates Fans will be demanding for extension-or he might slide back down to what it was prior to this year’s injury.
  • Adam Frazier shows he has has some pop in his bat; making a case for starting second baseman in the All-Star Game, while incrementally raising his trade value.

  • Bryan Reynolds is absolutely locked in right now. Obviously he should be in the All-Star Conversation, if that’s your thing; however the competition is a little crowded with the likes of Ronald Acuna, Jr., Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker.

  • There is a pretty big drop off in production after the Pirates top four batters in the lineup, but the most concerning one continues to be Kevin Newman. Batting .205 for the season with a .513 OPS, his defense can only keep him in the lineup on a consistent basis for so long. Unfortunately the options for the Pirates are limited to Erik Gonzalez (.227 AVG and .555 OPS) and Cole Tucker (.231 AVG and .744 OPS in AAA)-with both of these being lower than his last full season with the Indians.
  • Pirates #11 Prospect-according to MLB Pipeline was transitioned to the MiLB 60-Day IL with his elbow/forearm issue. This has been described as a “paper move” as he is still in Florida rehabbing at the same pace.

The Pirates and Cardinals continue their four game series tonight at 8:15 PM EST from Busch Stadium.

For Pittsburgh, Wil Crowe (0-4, 6.42 ERA) takes the mound against Kwang Hyun Kim (1-5, 3.60 ERA) for the Cardinals.

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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