9-19-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)
I guess it has to be addressed again…the Pirates still have have not swept a series on the year, which honestly only becomes a storyline because because the team is now 56-93; and this lack of a winning streak only brings more emphasis to an unsuccessful season. If the Pirates had won 40 of their 55 series on the season, while not sweeping one in the process-but still accumulating 75 to 80 wins in the process-this wouldn’t even be a conversation.
Obviously this a hypothetical scenario, however, in every other season the same could be said about an 0 for 15 sweep situation; especially since there are only six other teams without a series sweep since 1961. Needless to say, this is not a regular occurrence.
Yet to me, the manner in which this most recent example of futility transpired sticks out more in my mind than anything else.
Leading 4 to 3 heading into the bottom of the 9th, the Pirates called upon their new closer Chris Stratton, who shut the door on the Marlins in the first game of the series. Unfortunately, the same outcome was not in the cards as Stratton didn’t really implode, but allowed the equalizer to score nonetheless on a walk and an eventual RBI single; setting up the disaster of an 10th that seemed destined to come.
Enter former opening day starter Chad Kuhl for the Marlins walk off 2-run homer, to erase the gimme run in the top of the 10th. Game Over.
News and Notes
- Chad Kuhl and Chris Stratton are two of the more veteran members of the team. You should be able to count on them to shut down an inept Marlin’s offense. This didn’t happen as the game was ended by a .203 hitter with 41 career games under his belt.
- Cole Tucker had himself a series; going 6 for 11, scoring 3 runs and driving in 2 runs. He is now batting .265 for the month of September. I still expect the Pirates DFA him at the end of the season. Nothing he has done jumps of the page. He is a career .214 hitter, His Minor League average is .262. End of story.
- Hoy Park was nearly the hero of the day, thanks to his two-run go-ahead homer in the top of the 9th. Park had a hit in every game of this series; along with 4 RBI, three walks and no strikeouts. Still he only has .184 AVG and a 70 wRC+ on the season, which makes him yet another player on the 40-man roster bubble.
- Max Kranick was really hot, striking out 6 Marlins in a row, but then turned luke warm; ending the day with 3 runs on 4 hits, with those 6 Ks and three walks over 5 innings. Not bad, but not great.
- Banda, Mears and Miller put up three scoreless innings to give their team a chance; one they almost took.
- Anthony Alford has continued to hit as well; ripping a triple to bring the Pirates within one in the 7th. Much like Tucker and Park, Alford has heated up as of late. If it continues, this is going to be a very interesting off-season as his average now sits at .283 for September.
The Pirates last road trip of the season continues at Great American Smallpark in Cincinnati; a place that has not been kind to Pittsburgh this year. It all began with a 4 game sweep-one in which they were out scored 34 to 11-in the second series of the year; continuing with a second sweep in the beginning of August, as they were once again pummeled 31 to 9.
For Pittsburgh, Dillon Peters (1-2, 2.66 ERA) takes the mound for his sixth start in black and yellow. Opposing him is Vladimir Gutierrez (9-6, 4.25 ERA) for Cincinnati. The same Gutierrez that the Pirates roughed up for 4 run in 3.2 innings less than a week ago.