4-8-22 By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)
Every time my number is called to do the game recap for our site, I start to experience the same emotions I imagine a candidate running for office must feel; as they prepare for an impending victory or concession speech. Just before the game starts, in my mind, two separate storylines are intertwined; the first ending with the Jolly Roger being raised, while the other results in something that happened 101 times during the 2021 MLB Season for your Pittsburgh Pirates.
Even on a day like yesterday-Opening Day-when I can barely contain my excitement, mental drafts of a Pirates victory or loss battle for supreme dominance over the duration of a 9 inning contest, until one ultimately prevails.
In the Pirates matchup with the Cardinals from St. Louis, it was JT Brubaker’s familiar struggle in surrendering the long ball-this time to Tyler O’Neill to make it 4-0 Cards-that steered the narrative of the early storyline; along with another premature injury to Pittsburgh’s young superstar third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. Last season Brubaker allowed 28 homers in 124.1 innings, good for a rate of 2.05 HR/9-5th worst in the league. And, as you all probably remember, Hayes exited the second game of last season with a wrist injury; not appearing in a Pirates uniform until 2 months later on June 3rd.
In the end the Cardinals tacked on a few insurance runs, and the Pirates failed to muster any consistent offense as they fell to the Redbirds 9-0 to open the 2022 MLB Season.
News and Notes:
- The biggest story of the day was Ke’Bryan Hayes’ 8 year/$70 million contract extension, BUT then he got hurt. Currently Hayes is day to day with a forearm spasm. Luckily, it sounds like he avoided any major injury as he isn’t feeling any pain.
- Wil Crowe might have found a permanent place in the bullpen. Over two innings he struck out 3 and walked two, while not allowing a single hit or run.
- The Pirates left 17 runners on base and were 0-5 with RISP. In 2021 this was a constant struggle for Pittsburgh as they combined to bat .220 as a team with RISP, good for an overall 72 OPS+.
- Duane Underwood, Jr. left the game with a tight hamstring. Obviously it’s not the shoulder inflammation that ended his season last year, but it definitely looked uncomfortable as he tossed a couple of pitches in front of Shelton to see if he could stay in.
- We got shut out. Pitching kinda bad, hitting kinda bad and fielding kinda bad. Could be a kinda long season.
Today is the obligatory off-day for Pittsburgh following the opener. The Pirates and Cardinals will be back at it again tomorrow-Saturday April 9th-from St. Louis in the second of a four game series; with Mitch Keller toeing the rubber against Miles Mikolas.