8-11-2021 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)
According to Baseball Reference, the average length of a Major League Baseball game is 3 hours and 10 minutes. All the way back in 1985, when I first started following the Pirates, it was 2 hours and 44 minutes. MLB’s Commissioner Rob Manfred sees this as a problem, and is invested in doing everything he can to speed up the pace of play/not make the games last as long; from the three batter minimum for relievers to the pitch clock and from shortening the challenge time for managers to 20 seconds instead of 30 and putting a runner on second in extras. Yet, games have continued to last over 3 hours, as the have since 2012; even in a game where the Pirates lineup did everything they could to minimize how long fans had to suffer through their latest loss, the game still lasted 2 hours and 51 minutes.
Now, some may see this as a sarcastic joke; however, I can guarantee you that this is 100% absolute frustration on my part. Sure, I don’t expect the Pirates to win that many games from here on out, but I sure as hell expect them to try to compete in each and every contest; not just lay down. And for anyone that points to Polanco’s heroics this past week in a come from behind victory or each Stallings walk off hit, I can show you twice as many, or more games that went the way of last night’s meeting at PNC Park with the division rival St. Louis Cardinals.
Of course you could point to the Pirates recent track record versus JA Happ, including the 7+ inning one hit performance when he was with the Twins back in April; still I can’t seem to justify, in my head, another one hit outing, where he struck five Pittsburgh hitters to go along with a game high 9 swings and misses. I just can’t.
News and Notes
- Steven Brault only made a few mistakes in his 5 innings of work, but the Cardinals made him pay for two of them; both on solo home runs from Tommy Edman and Paul DeJong. Nevertheless, you can be too disappointed with Brault’ six strike out and zero walk performance.
- The clock may have struck midnight on The Big Nogowski. The Dude has is batting .125 over his last 15 games. His last hit came back on August 3rd.
- Ka’Tom started his rehab assignment in Indianapolis, which seems to have a lot of Pirates Fans up in arms. For what it’s worth he went 1 for 2 with a 2-run homer in the third. Also, for what it’s worth Erik Gonzalez was DFA’d whenever he was reinstated to the roster.
- Duane Underwood, Jr. and Nick Mears combined for three scoreless innings to give Pirates Fans at least some semblance of hope that their team could make a comeback. Following a few disastrous outings in July, Underwood, Jr. has posted a somewhat solid, or at least consistent, 3.97 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Mears on the other hand had continued to be up and down, which is exactly what I would expect from a fast tracked 24 year old with limited Big League experience.
- For the time being Jun Hoy Park is your leadoff man. Taking advantage of the opportunity, and playing all over the field, the recently acquired Park is slashing .321/.367/.571 in his short time with the Pirates; and he got his first Major League Home Run last night.
The Pirates look to get back on track, and in all actuality get their bats going, as they take on the Cardinals at 7:05 PM EST for the second game of this three game series.
For Pittsburgh, Wil Crowe (3-6, 5.47 ERA) toes the rubber against long time nemesis, Adam Wainwright (10-3, 3.48 ERA).