8-18-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)
On the season, including last night, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a Major League best +195 run differential. On the other side of the coin the Pittsburgh Pirates have been out scored by their opponents to the tune of -182; only being outdone by the Baltimore Orioles at -218. However, for the first two games in this too late for the majority of people in Pittsburgh-I watched it this morning-series, the Dodgers only hold a two run advantage over one of the worst teams, record wise, in all of MLB.
Now, this isn’t meant to confuse you into thinking that the Pirates could somehow compete with the Dodgers of the world, it is just an observation as to how finicky a baseball season can be, why it is a marathon and not a sprint and how different team performances can be from game to game and series to series.
Is it because the Dodgers are conserving their energy against a lesser opponent? Are they going through a rough patch of their own in this grind, where they are squeaking out wins in spite of some players struggling? Do the Pirates play up to the competition, which allows them to hold their own?
Honestly, I don’t know; and probably because I am writing about this, the Dodgers will ten run the Pirates by the third inning tonight; and truthfully I wouldn’t be shocked.
News and Notes
- The Pirates aren’t alone in getting top prospects to reach their potential, at times, once they reach the Big League Club. It is just more noticeable, as well as detrimental, when there hasn’t been a line of Minor Leaguers-or a potential big name free agent signing-to fill the gap/void. On the season, former top prospect Gavin Lux is slashing .224/.304/.345 with 6 homers, a 81 wRC+ and a .7 fWAR-less than one game better than a replacement level player.
- Wil Crowe burnt himself out in the first two innings by throwing 58 pitches, many of them high leverage in the second by being able to strand runners on second and third. The Dodgers would get to him in the fourth with a bloop single to center, ultimately ending his day with a line of two runs on five hits and 4K to 2 BB after 85 pitches. Unfortunately the immediate relief from the bullpen didn’t hold up, but this one isn’t on Shelton, and this isn’t baseball from days gone by. 85 pitches in game, following season where hardly anyone was fully stretched out and threw a minimal amount of innings and an arm they are trying to conserve, whether you agree with it or not, is about the highest you are going to see from a Pirates hurler for the remainder of the year.
- Back to back nights with a double for Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. I am not looking into this too much or predicting great things for the Pirates most recent acquisition. He has a lot of pop, but a decent amount of swing and miss when he is struggling. He’s just another player to watch for the remainder of the season.
- Speaking of players to watch; Bryan Reynolds came through with an RBI double from the right side of the plate, Ke’Bryan Hayes has a nice little 6 game hitting streak going on and David Bednar struck out two in the 8th and didn’t allow a run to afford the Pirates a chance of coming back in the 9th.
- On the Minor League front, First Overall Pick Henry Davis homered for Greensboro.
Tonight at 10:10 PM EST-or 5:30 AM EST for me on the replay-the Buccos and Trolley Dodgers are back at it to close out this three game set.
JT Brubaker (4-12, 5.13,ERA) takes the mound for Pittsburgh against the dreaded TBD for Los Angeles.