8-25-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)
With a record of 2-15, for the month of August, coming into this past Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates were supposed to get swept by St. Louis and continue their losing ways against the lowly Diamondbacks in order to move ever so close to the coveted #1 overall pick. Once again, the Pirates players must have missed the memo, as they were one Adam Wainwright dominating start away from a sweep of their own and sit poised to break out the brooms for the first time this season, in their 11th attempt; and now sit in the four spot in next year’s draft, with 40 games left in their season.
Surprise, surprise the Pirates aren’t actively tanking, and I’m here for it.
No one eagerly awaits the next loss by their favorite baseball team, especially in the manner and rate it had been occurring for the Pirates over the past few weeks. And in all honesty, the only thing I have been hoping for is competitive games; not necessarily even winning the contest. Over the past several days, Pittsburgh has done just that. Sure you could point to the level of competition over the past two games, but I would counter with the fact that a little over a month ago, when the Pirates were supposedly at full strength prior to this season’s trade deadline moves, the Diamondbacks swept them out of Arizona.
In a marathon of a season, like it is in Major League Baseball, it is very difficult to completely dominate everyone for long stretches; just like it is hard to be absolutely awful for an entire month in the manner the Pirates were for the first half of August. Eventually, things begin to even out a little bit, and Pittsburgh looks like a team that can complete; at least from game to game like they did yesterday.
Obviously, JT Brubaker could have been a little more crisp and not been forced to battle so much, but overall you can’t be mad at a 4-2 win against anybody on any given night.
News and Notes
- On the night Brubaker had 6 strikeouts, but he also had 3 walks and a couple of wild pitches he had to work around; although it was nice to not see a ball go over the fence on his watch this time around.
- Michael Chavis blasted his first homer as a Pirate, and his third on the season. For those who are wondering, this isn’t anything new for Chavis as he once blasted 31 homers in a Minor League season and had 18 in his rookie campaign with the Red Sox. Consistently has been his main issue, with lot of strikeouts and not much as far as free passes to speak off.
- Anthony Alford added a 2-run homer in the fourth to give Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead. Once again, as it it has been with Chavis, Alford has been able to put his power on display at times. Just look at his 14 home runs with Indianapolis this year. However, also like Chavis, the strikeouts numbers are a little too hard to ignore.
- Ke’Bryan Hayes is good at defense. No one has ever questioned that. It is simply that the bat will make him go from a 2, 3 or 4 WAR player to a consistent All-Star Level Player with 5 or more. Luckily tonight, the bat was on display with a triple in the bottom of the third. His season average currently sits at .250, while his OPS is just below .700 and his wRC+ is short of the Major League average (100) at 92.
- As expected Gregory Polanco cleared outright waivers and remains a Pittsburgh Pirate on the teams active roster. So ends the biggest, and at times most controversial, story in recent weeks. Just imagine it was never leaked, or if Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic had just reported it accurately from the beginning.
The Pirates will try again for their first sweep of the season at 7:05 PM EST from PNC Park.
For Pittsburgh it is possible that Bryse Wilson (2-5, 4.82 ERA) takes the mound after his stint on the 10-day IL, or could it be Miguel Yajure (1-2, 3.96 ERA), who last started for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians this past Thursday. For Arizona, Tyler Gilbert (1-1, 2.04 ERA) toes the rubber.