4-25-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
Live from New York, its, well, the Five Thoughts at Five. I’ve been sent into enemy territory for work and I still have Pirates thoughts. Let’s do this.
1. WTF Did They Just Do With Alford?
First of all, I never would have brought him back in the first place, so I’m crying no tears. That said, he was a real outfielder, and 4 at bats seems a bit light to bother bringing him back after the IL in the first place. Look, he’s not good, we get it, did you need to see those 4 more at bats first? Did you just blow up the pen in a 21-0 loss and need a pitcher that bad? Maybe they just haven’t noticed yet that May 1st is a week away.
We’re going to see more casualties, now I see two pitchers need to go. Yajure makes sense, so does Fletcher. Super weird.
2. Beau Sulser is a Good Option
His numbers won’t impress you, but he’s a guy who has had a phenomenal start to 2022 and a switch to the pen could really bring out the best in him. I’m still not convinced he’ll stick for long, but one thing this team isn’t so far is afraid to DFA players. Regardless of how much opportunity they’ve gotten.
These moves lately with DeJong and Sulser, really give me hope that we’ll get a shot at Bligh Madris. They seem to really want to see what these older prospects can do, and that’s not bad. I’ll say this though, much of this is unnecessary. Again, Alford was here for two days. What in the actual hell are we doing here? Just don’t bother?
3. 21-0 vs 3 of 4
The Pirates of course lost their most lopsided contest ever against the Cubs on Saturday, losing 21-0 and ok, that was awful, but having won the first two contests of the series, and a shot at redemption the next afternoon, they rallied to take down the Cubs in game 4 clinching the series win and all but erasing the terrible loss.
All that was really was a cosmic adjustment. A realignment of stats if you will.
They’ve now gotten wiped out by St. Louis and Milwaukee, and beaten or split with the Cubs and Nationals. Before you can ever consider calling yourself good, you have to beat the teams you’re supposed to, and the Cubs very much so are that, despite that lopsided contest.
4. It’s Easy to Push the Right Buttons When…
Well, when you have as many options in the pen who still have 0.00 ERAs after 5, 6 or 7 contests, it’s hard to go wrong so long as they’re available. David Bednar, Dillon Peters, and Wil Crowe have all been flawless so far, and Anthony Banda along with Heath Hembree aren’t far behind.
It’s a good base really, and the exciting thing is aside from Hembree and Stratton, this entire pen could be here for YEARS if the Pirates so choose. I have a feeling we’ll be having a different conversation about some of these guys as the year goes on, but don’t forget how they started. The potential is there for very good, and folks we haven’t even seen them with Blake Cederlind yet.
This bullpen could be the driving force that prevents this team from collapsing entirely in 2022.
5. Power, Anyone Have Any Power?
Hitting is down in the league. Averages, power, just everything. But this club isn’t hitting enough to even complain about some league wide conspiracy.
Yoshi Tsutsugo is here to hit homeruns, and he isn’t, but this isn’t all on him. Nobody is with the exception of Daniel Vogelbach, Chavis and I guess I’d throw in Reynolds with 2 but he’s run into his own issues this season.
This team needs more thunder and we all know Oneil Cruz is the next great hope to provide it.
Reynolds is struggling early on. Hitting only .190 a couple weeks into the season and generally looking like his timing is off has caused an already sure to be weak Pirates offense to really sputter.
He’s got to be the straw that stirs the drink, if he isn’t, this team is in more trouble than we think. I have confidence he’ll find what’s missing but for where we are, he’s quietly not been part of the solution in 2022.
Again, it’s early, but that’s not ideal. A nice home series with the wife and kid could really help him, but let’s not sugarcoat this just because we like him and he’s a good player overall. He’s leading the team in strikeouts with 17, and be honest, you’d be killing a lesser player.
In fact, jump back up to the top of the list, Yoshi has 15 strikeouts and he is actively getting destroyed for not swinging at anything, just repeatedly taking called strike 3. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Reynolds has been below the line and it’s fair to point it out, it’s not like he’s unaware anyhow.
The biggest concern is he has already tried adjustments. He was taking too many called strikes, now he’s swinging at junk. He was taking too many strikes early in at bats, now he’s seeing 2 or 3 pitches too often. Hitting is hard, and guys with track records get more leash, but early on, it’s incredible this team is at .500 with little help from Bryan.