Shelton Can’t Win, And Neither Can The Pirates

9-5-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)

Immediately after Pirates lost their third game in a row to Cubs at Wrigley Field, on a BS call I might add, Pittsburgh Manager Derek Shelton was required to address the question as to why the team’s most effective reliever, David Bednar, did not pitch in a game that was one out away from being over. Well, he threw nearly 30 pitches over two innings of work two days before; an answer that probably was not still good enough for some. Was it good enough for me? Yeah. Because without a Ben Gamel misplay on a line drive to right field, one that was somehow not ruled an error, the game was over.

Plus, let’s not try to act like Derek Shelton makes the ultimate decision concerning what pitchers are available to him on a given day; and even if he was I am pretty sure he would face blame from a portion of the fanbase for risking the future closer’s arm by pitching him too often during meaningless games in September. This would be especially true on a day when two of the Pirates pitchers (JT Brubaker and Duane Underwood, Jr.) had already left the game unexpectedly with right shoulder discomfort.

So, instead of using an arm that could potentially be useful to the Pirates in the future, Shelton leaned on Chasen Shreve and Chris Stratton, the later who now has a 3.52 ERA and a .97 WHIP over his last seven games; even with the blown save and loss in this one. And, once again, it worked; if not for the Gamel play, at around the 20 second mark in the video below.

And, the game should have at least gone to extras if it wasn’t for the aforementioned BS call.

Credit to Alex Stumpf from DK Sports Pittsburgh for the second video. Also, give his game story a read after clicking on the link.

But, please continue to rail Shelton, or Oscar Marin, and maybe even Wilmer Difo for a play on Thursday night if you so choose; it’s your right. All, I ask is that it is criticism rooted in facts, not some false narrative about Difo taking at bats from the young guys-Rodolfo Castro, who I like a lot, was hitting .198 and had four errors before being optioned down-or that Shelton is making horrible pitching changes, because it’s not like he a lot of options at this point. Guys arms are exhausted, many are coming up lame and even the right choices can turn out wrong when the guys on the mound or the field don’t execute.

This is a bad team; well on its way to 100 loses. And this extremely disappointing 7-6 loss to the Cubs is just one of them.

News and Notes

  • Prior to the game Kyle Keller was optioned to AAA in order to have JT Brubaker start today. Unfortunately, Brubaker left the game after 3 innings and two batters faced in the 4th. In those first three innings struck out 5, walked none and allowed 3 hits. Of course that’s not how his line ended up. Once again, I guess Shelton made the wrong call as Sam Howard continued with Brubaker’s last batter with a walk, and proceeded to let all three men score.
  • In the top of the fifth the Pirates captured the lead, mostly due in part to some horrible pitching by Kyle Hendricks who walked in a run and forced in another by hitting a batter. Wilmer Difo, you know the guy that shouldn’t be playing, did knock in couple with a single, so Pittsburgh did earn the lead.

  • Yoshi teed off on another one. Still don’t know where he fits into the future, but it is sure fun to watch at times.

  • Ke’Bryan Hayes is still nursing his self inflicted injury. Hope he’s back soon, but hard not to be frustrated with this missed time toward the end of the season; especially when it was easily avoidable.

The Pirates will look to avoid the four game sweep later today at 2:20 PM EST.

For Pittsburgh, Wil Crowe (3-7, 5.46 ERA) toes the rubber against Zach Davies (6-10, 4.91 ERA) in the Chicago red, white and blue.

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

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