Giant Innings Doom Pirates, Lose 14-4 (26-27)

5/29/23- By Michael Castrignano – @412DoublePlay on Twitter

The Giants dropped 5 runs on starter Rich Hill in the 2nd and pushed across 8 runs against reliever Cody Bolton in the 7th en route to a thrashing against the Bucs in the series opener. The loss moved the Pirates to a game under .500 for the first time in 8 weeks.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong as the Pirates struggled on defense, had inconsistent pitching and couldn’t string together hits – which has been their unfortunate anthem during this disappointing month of May, where they have dropped 18 of 24 games.

News & Notes

  • Tucupita Marcano notched his first 3-hit game of the season – and the third of his career – as he is now posting a .284/.351/.500 triple slash over 36 games this season
  • Jack Suwinski hit a pair of home runs into McCovey Cove. He became the third Pirate to put one into the cove after Adam Laroche (8/11/07) and Garrett Jones (8/22/13). It was Suwinski’s 2nd multi-homer game in the past week and third one of the season.
  • The game got so out of hand that the Pirates turned to position player Chris Owings to handle the 8th inning. First time the Pirates used a position player to pitch since July 6, 2022 – when Josh VanMeter pitched against the Yankees.
  • Pirates try to right the ship with game 2 tomorrow night with Johan Oviedo on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 9:45pm. Let’s Go Bucs!

Big Arcing Home Runs and Offensive Slumps Lead Bucs To Another Series Loss (26-26)

5/28/23- By Michael Castrignano – @412DoublePlay on Twitter

Luis Ortiz struggled to get into a rhythm, Pirates hitters couldn’t get to soft-tossing southpaw Marco Gonzales and fell short in extras as they drop the rubber match 6-3. Ortiz gave up high solo home runs to Julio Rodriguez and Cal Raleigh.

Ortiz rebounded to manage 5 innings with 5 hits, 3 runs and 6 strikeouts as he generated 14 swings and misses, but he allowed 4 walks in the outing. The third run scored off a Jarred Kelenic double to left in the 5th inning.

Pirates got a run on a sacrifice fly from Austin Hedges in the 5th, an RBI triple from Bryan Reynolds in the 8th which scored Andrew McCutchen from second. Reynolds would score on a wild pitch to Jack Suwinski, which tied the game.

Bullpen was shutting it down for the Pirates, forcing extra innings after Roansy Contreras, Colin Holderman and David Bednar threw a combined 4 innings and allowed just 1 hit against 4 strikeouts; however, the Pirates were unable to capitalize with men on 1st and 3rd and no outs in the 10th inning and the Mariners responded against reliever Robert Stephenson with a big three-run blast from Eugenio Suarez to take the game 6-3.

News & Notes

  • Cutch started in the outfield for the first time since April 13.
  • Both Rodriguez and Raleigh had launch angles of 43 degrees that each barely made it out. 
  • Contreras pitched out of the pen for the first time this season and looked solid once he settled in. 
  • Carlos Santana left the game in the 6th inning with reported lumbar spine muscular tightness. We are still awaiting further details but unlikely it will be a long-term issue at this point.
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes struck out 4 times in the game, including a bases-loaded K in the top of the 10th inning. He went 1-for-18 in the series with his Friday home run standing as his lone hit.
  • Ji-hwan Bae made a PHENOMENAL catch that prevented extra bases in the bottom of the 9th
  • Pirates head to San Francisco to face the Giants. First pitch is at 5:05PM. Let’s Go Bucs!

Minor League News and Brews: Assessing The State Of The Pirates Rebuild

Craig is joined by Zach Buchanan from The Athletic to talk Pirates Prospects-such as Henry Davis, Termarr Johnson, Enmanuel Terrero and Quinn Priester-as well as the transformation of the team he used to cover, the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Craig Toth covers the Pirates for Inside The Bucs Basement, and is a huge Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Fan; especially when it comes to the Farm System. Listen. Subscribe. Share. We are “For Fans, By Fans & All Pirates Talk.” THE Pirates Fan Minor League Podcast found EVERYWHERE podcasts can be found and always at!

Top 15 Plus 5 More Update

5-26-23 – By Justin Verno – @JV_PITT on Twitter

Another solid week for this edition’s write up. Without making specific predictions I think we could be seeing some movement with a few of the guys here. And before you get too excited I’m not talking about Gonzo or Endy or Davis. Not yet anyway. Ok, enough stalling let’s get to it.

1–Termarr Johnson-


2-Endy Rodriguez-


3-Henry Davis–


4-Luis Ortiz-


5-Quinn Priester-


6-Liover Peguero–


7-Mike Burrow-(season over)


8-Bubba Chandler–


9-Jared Triolo–


10-Jared Jones


11-Yordany De Los SantosNo stats


12-Thomas Harrington–


13-Kyle Nicolas–


14-Colin Selby–


15-Carlos Jimenz-(NO STATS)



16-Anthony Solometo


17-Nick Gonzales


18-Hudson Head


19-Tsung -Che Cheng


20-Enmanuel Terrero


A Few quick thoughts-

Gotta get ahead in life..

Last few weeks Hudson Head has been a guy we’ve followed along with (I imagine this will be something that I mention a good deal this year) and that doesn’t change this week. Kid really cooled off. But something worth mentioning- his K rate was well below what we’ve come to expect. Coming in at 23.8%. Not saying having a week that bad has a positive, but if it does? Well for Head that’d be the thing I’d highlight.

I will turn this car around!

The gem of the Pirates system finally let his boom stick do the talking! Hitting his first bomb of the season while slashing .294/.400/.529 with an OPS of 1.029. His K rate on the week was under the dreaded 30%. Nice week for the young man.

Liover Pegeuro. Warning- Standing too close to the Peggy could cause serious burns, please stand back!

Man what a week for Peggy! Racking up 12 hits in 28 trips to the plate including 2 HR and 5 2B. The kid was simply fantastic. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone turn their season around so quickly. Hopefully it’s clicking again and if it is I really wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Pittsburgh before Endy and Davis. Worth talking about considering the situation with the 40 man and that he’s been to the show already?

Well, for starters

Aside from Bubba Chandler(no reason to panic there, by the way) the top of the system had a fantastic week.

Quinn Priester seems to be putting it together. He was excellent in both starts. Kept the bags empty, 0.84 WHIP. His K rate on the year is up to 24.4% and he seems to be setting guys up and challenging them. Really encouraging stuff here. For the first time he seems to be fast tracking himself a little? After a slow start, this has been fun to watch.

Jared freaking Jones Am I right? Jones also had 2 starts this week, due to that the Bucs kept his pitch count to the mid 50’s in both. And frankly, that sucked as he was fantastic. Striking out 41% over 8 innings was worth the price of admission. He struggled in the 1st inning on Sunday, then just took over. Join me on the Jone’s bandwagon while there’s still room.

Thomas Harrington. Jones isn’t the only that was mowing ’em down. Harrington also K’d 40%. Sending 9 guys packing over 5.1 innings. It’s been easy to see why so many scouts liked Harrington last year.

Solometo went 7 with 6 strike outs and no walks. Kid is so fun to watch.

We’re moving on up…

I think we are at the point where we can start chatting about who could be putting themselves in line for an early promotion. Harrington, Tsung-Che Cheng and Enmanuel Tererro are a few names I’ll throw into the hat? Hit me up on Twitter, who do you think could be in line for an early season promo? @JV_PITT

Pittsburgh Pirates at Seattle Mariners Series Preview

When & Who

Pittsburgh Pirates (25-24) at Seattle Mariners (25-24)

Game 1 – (5/26, 10:10 EST)

Probable Pitchers:

For the Pirates – Mitch Keller (5-1, 2.44 ERA)

For the Mariners – George Kirby (5-3, 2.62 ERA)

Game 2 – (5/27, 4:10 EST)

Probable Pitchers:

For the Pirates –Roansy Contreras (3-4, 4.50 ERA)

For the Mariners– Luis Castillo (3-2, 2.97 ERA)

Game 3 – (5/28, 4:10 EST)

Probable Pitchers:

For the Pirates – Luis Ortiz (1-2, 4.02 ERA)

For the Mariners– Marco Gonzales (4-1, 5.68 ERA)

*Editor’s note: Based on comments from Derek Shelton, there is a good chance Vince Velasquez will return in this series. The Sunday tilt in a direct flop with Luis Ortiz makes a ton of sense. – Gary Morgan

Team Trends

Seattle is coming off a series win against the Athletics but has lost their past two of three series before that. After a surging season in 2022, the Mariners are off to a slower than anticipated start but still have a top-ten pitching staff in MLB, including a 3.72 ERA and 255 strikeouts as a rotation. George Kirby and Luis Castillo are two of Seattle’s top pitchers and could easily give Pirates batters fits.

The Pirates are playing better baseball as of late, but have lost 16 of their last 21 games. Pitching has been the teams’ strong suit, and the Pirates will put perhaps their three strongest pitchers on the mound in this series. The Mariners rank 25th in MLB in team OPS, and 18th in MLB in home runs. Limiting the offense is step one for the Pirates having a chance to take two of three against Seattle.

Who’s Hot

For the Mariners – J.P Crawford – Crawford has collected a hit in the Mariners’ first three games against the Athletics and is hitting .296 (8-for-27) over his last seven games.

For the Pirates –  Connor Joe – Joe collected a hit in each game against the Rangers and drew two walks.

Who’s Not

For the Mariners – Eugenio Suarez – Suarez is just 5-for-26 (.192) over his past seven games, with twelve strikeouts in that span. Suarez is also hitting just .185 over his past 30 games.  

For the Pirates – Jack Suwinski – Suwinski collected just one hit against the Rangers and recorded five strikeouts in the series. He is batting just .154 with eight strikeouts over his last seven games.

Series Overview & Prediction

Seattle has won six of their last ten, but four have come against a historically bad Athletics team, and have had trouble against higher competition. The same story applies to the recent Pirates, who have yet to win a series in May. The Pirates are putting some good pitching on the mound, and so are the Mariners. Both teams have offenses that rank near the bottom in MLB in many categories, so getting a feel for this series is difficult. But the Pirates need to break losing at some point, so maybe they take two of three here and decide enough is enough. (Wishful thinking).

Pirates Can’t Climb Out Of Early Hole: (25-24)

5-24-23 – By Craig W. Toth – @BucsBasement on Twitter

It’s so frustrating to sit down for a Pirates Matinee, and feel like they don’t have a shot to win after the top of the 1st.

Of course I am exaggerating a little bit, but I don’t know how many fans actually kept the faith after the Pirates feel behind 3-0 to kick off their series finale against the Texas Rangers.

During the first month of the season this would probably have felt like a blip on the radar; much like Johan Oviedo’s first outing of the season, where he gave up 5 runs in the first inning against Boston, but the Pirates charged back to win 7-6.

Now, it feels like an insurmountable obstacle; and yesterday it was as your Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the Texas Rangers by a score of 3 to 2.

News & Notes

  • Oviedo was erratic, then he was immaculate. After surrendering 3 runs in the first inning, Johan settled down by not allowing another Ranger to cross the plate, while striking out 4 additional batters; including an Immaculate Inning-3 Ks on 9 pitches-in the top of the 4th.
  • Carlos Santana has played a solid first base thus far this season; which is why the double clutch fielder’s choice in the first inning-that allowed a run to score-and the error in the 6th stick out even more. To this point I have ignored his plunging AVG and OPS; but, if he isn’t going to hit consistently, these types of mistakes can’t happen. Santana started the season hitting for a .276 AVG, a .786 OPS and a 116 wRC+. Over his past 81 plate appearances he has hit .176 with a .546 OPS and 58 wRC+.
  • Bryan Reynolds has posted a .282/332/.481 slash line with a 117 wRC+ and 6 homers on the season. On the surface this year would be comparable to the one he had last year; while adding in the potential for some improvement. However, when you break it down into halves, it becomes indicative of the season the Pirates have experienced to this point. Through the end of April, Reynolds was batting .323 with a .926 OPS, a 143 wRC+ and 5 homers. Since that time-across 88 plate appearances-he has posted a .231 AVG with a .661 OPS, an 82 wRC+ and just one home run.
  • Rodolfo Castro should be in the lineup everyday. The same with Marcano. If not what are we even doing here? I get that a certain matchup or a scheduled day off would cause them to be off, but with dueling OPS+ marks of 121 for Castro and 108 for Marcano; that are a full 20 points or more from the nearest competitors for their respective positions.
  • To their credit, the Pirates Bullpen was up for the challenge by allowing just two hits and 0 earned runs, while walking one and striking out four; led by Dauri Moreta over his 1 and a third innings. Over his last 7 appearances, Moreta has not allowed an earned run, struck out 12 and not given up a free pass. He now has a 2.01 ERA and a near elite 0.94 WHIP on the season.

The Pirates are off today as they travel to Seattle for a weekend series with the Mariners.

For Pittsburgh, Mitch Keller (5-1/2.44 ERA/0.97 WHIP) is scheduled to be on the bump; facing off against George Kirby (5-3/2.62 ERA/1.01 WHIP for Seattle.

First pitch is 10:10 PM EST.

Evaluating The Pirates Decision Making Ability

Craig is joined once again by Jason Mackey-Pirates Beat Writer from the Post Gazette-to talk about recent decisions made by the Pittsburgh Pirates concerning how and when they deploy specific players. 

Brought to you by! Craig Toth covers the Pirates for Inside The Bucs Basement, and joins his buddy Chris at a 9-foot homemade oak bar to talk Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball. Listen. Subscribe. Share. We are “For Fans, By Fans & All Pirates Talk.” THE Pirates Fan Podcast found EVERYWHERE podcasts can be found and always at


Rangers Strike Early & Often, Defeat Pirates 6-1: (25-23)

05/23/2023 – By Ethan Smith – @mvp_Ethan on Twitter

We knew going into this series that the Texas Rangers have fielded one of the best offense in MLB. Well, Texas proved that on Tuesday night.

The Rangers jumped on Rich Hill immediately, as Marcus Semien would triple, leading to a Corey Seager single that would score Semien. Hill was then called for a balk that would score Seager, making it 2-0 before the Pirates even came to bat.

Pittsburgh would strike back in the bottom of the third as Bryan Reynolds would bring the Pirates within one on a two-out RBI double that scored Andrew McCutchen, who extended his on-base streak to 13 games.

Things were relatively quiet for the middle innings, but the Rangers offense could only be quiet for so long.

Hill pitched well until the sixth, giving up two runs before being removed for Jose Hernandez in an outing that saw nine strikeouts along with five earned runs and seven hits.

Hernandez would allows another run via balk to the Rangers, scoring Josh Jung, who also had a 444 foot homer against Duane Underwood Jr. in the seventh to extend the Rangers lead to 6-1 in the eighth inning.

The final innings didn’t have much to write home about as the Pirates fell in game two of the series to the Rangers 6-1.

Pittsburgh and Texas play the rubber match tomorrow.

News & Notes

  • Rich Hill: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
  • Jose Hernandez: 1.2 IP, 1 K
  • Underwood Jr.: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K
  • McCutchen increase on-base streak to 13-games
  • Pirates move to 25-23 and fail to secure series victory in May(possibility tomorrow)

Top 5 Pirates Prospect Performers: Mid-May

5/23/23-By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)

Since before the Minor Baseball Season even kicked off, I have talked about the trickle-down effect concerning promotions that could take place in the Pirates Farm System.

Simply put, if there isn’t a place and/or position for regular playing time, General Manager Ben Cherington and Director of Coaching and Player Development John Baker will keep your assignment at a level where you can receive regular reps.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, which have been seen on full display at the Major League Level at times. For example, Canaan Smith-Njigba only received 37 plate appearances over the first 23 games of the season.

Clearly he wasn’t hitting to degree that many expected of him, but it’s also hard to turn things on when you aren’t receiving regular playing time. Hence, why he is back with Triple-A Indianapolis; where he has been able to accumulate 50 plate appearances in less time.

Similar reasoning would potentially explain why certain prospects are holding steady at say an Altoona or Greensboro, instead climbing the ladder; one of whom is listed at #1 this week.

Because the majority of Pirates Fans-that maybe don’t have a regular pulse on the Minors-still operate under the presumption that Liover Peguero and Nick Gonzales are the double play tandem of the future-after being told this for the past few years-it might come as surprise that they have been playing the same position, more often than not; particularly over the past couple of weeks.

This is not to say one of them couldn’t slide across the second base bag to each of their natural positions. Still, why would you decide to mix things up when both of them seem to be getting back on track?

Now if this pattern of positive performances at the plate continue, perhaps you can make the move then.

I just wouldn’t force it.

1) Liover Peguero-2B/SS (Altoona)

Over the first month of the season , and across 72 plate appearances, Peguero slashed .238/.324/.302 with a 79 wRC+ and no homers; continuing the downward slide he had taken during the previous year by posting a .230/.297/.315 slash line with a 70 wRC+, following his weekend cup of coffee in Pittsburgh toward the end of June.

However, as soon as the calendar turned over to May, the still only 22 year-old prospect has been red hot. In his last 84 plate appearances he is batting .303 with a .935 OPS, a 152 wRC+ and 4 homers; including a two-home run during the Curve’s most recent series.

Now, people who are more tuned into the day-to-day; such as Jarrod Prugar from the Altoona Mirror, saw this about-face coming due to increase contact numbers and an improved approach at the plate. Still, it’s far from mission accomplished for Peguero; who seems to have some added pressure from fans due to his stature as Cherington’s first major acquisition.

2) Quinn Priester-RHP (Indianapolis)

Quinn could have easily made this list over the past couple of weeks; yet, in all honesty I wanted to see a little bit more of a track record after he started the season with a 7.78 ERA and 1.68 WHIP through his first 5 outings.

Over his last 4 starts-totaling 24 innings-he owns a 1.13 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP; although his strikeout numbers have decreased from 11.44 per 9 to 7.13, which could be by design. Or, it could be totally coincidental, as his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) has stayed pretty consistent at 3.24 versus 3.04.

One thing that has changed is the number of appearances in a week/series with Luis Ortiz up in the Majors.

This past week Priester made his second appearance on Sunday, and didn’t really skip a beat; not allowing a run across 5 innings of work.

3) JP Massey-RHP (Bradenton)

Massey makes the list for the second week in a row, thanks to a six innings shutout performance; during which he struck out 5, walked one and only allowed one hit. For his efforts he was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week.

And, truthfully I could see it becoming Pitcher of the Month, if he has another solid outing this week.

Over his last 3 starts Massey has not allowed a run, given up just 4 hits and struck out 21 in 16 innings.

4) Jackson Glenn-2B/3B (Greensboro)

The last time I wrote about Glenn a couple of weeks ago, I asked for a sooner rather than later promotion for Glenn due to his age; a request that I will make again today. Even though his being bumped up a level could be tied to one for Peguero.

During the series against the Asheville Tourist, Glenn batted .478 with an 1.152 OPS, a double and a homer-his 6th on the season.

On the year he is now slashing .337/.417/.567 with a 13.3% K to 10.8% BB-rate.

5) Tres Gonzalez-OF (Greensboro)

Tres, like Glenn, has started to become a regular in the Top 5.

Since his promotion to Greensboro-back on May 2nd-Gonzalez is slashing .309/.375/.455 with a couple of homers and 7 steals, on as many attempts,

Now, unlike Glenn, he is only 22 years-old; which probably means he will spend the rest of the year in Grasshoppers green.

Bonus: Henry Davis-C/RF (Altoona)

Davis could probably make this list each and every time. However, this week the power and his undeniable arm-on display in the outfield for the first time-are what we should focus on.

For anyone that has been living under a rock for the past week, here are the highlights.

Now, it should be noted that overall Davis had his worst series at the plate this season; batting .250 with a .973 OPS; which any of us will take without batting an eye due to the defensive effort, 2 homers and 6 walks to 3 strikeouts.


There you have it! My Top 5 Pirates Prospect Performers, plus one, for the second week of May 2023.

Now remember, let me know if I missed anyone, and who your Top 5 would be. And, be sure check back each and every Tuesday during Minor League Baseball Season!

Ortiz, Marcano Power Pirates to a 6-4 Victory Over the Rangers (26-22)

5/22/23- By Michael Castrignano – @412DoublePlay on Twitter

Luis Ortiz was locked in, pumping high-90s and hitting all of his spots as he worked efficiently and mixed speeds working all of his pitches in what was his longest and most successful start of his young career as he earned his first professional win. 

Bucs got on the board with some small-ball play in the 2nd as a leadoff double by Ke’Bryan Hayes followed by two groundouts managed to plate the first run. The 1-0 lead would hold until the Rangers similarly manufactured a run off a lead-off single by Leody Tavares, advancing to second on a wild pitch, third on a Marcus Semien fly out to center and scoring on a Corey Seager sacrifice fly to deep left.

But it was the final three innings which had much of the fire works as Pirates mustered a strong 2 out rally in the 7th behind a Bryan Reynolds single, Jack Suwinski walk and an RBI single from Carlos Santana gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. However, after Santana stole second (his fifth of the year in five attempts) and Hayes walked, it became the Marcano Show:

That was all the offense the Pirates would need, though not without some drama. Ortiz allowed a run to score after a 2-out RBI single from Semien in the 8th, which led to his exit from the game. Colin Holderman took over and immediately struck out the next batter.

In the 9th, it was Renegade time as David Bednar came in to pitch the non-save situation. He gave up a single to Nathan Lowe and, after striking out the always dangerous Adolis Garcia, left a fastball up to Josh Jung which was hammered 417 feet out to make it a 6-4 game. 

Fortunately, Bednar got the final two outs off a Jonah Heim fly out and a strike out of Robbie Grossman to finish off the game. 

The Pirates offense was markedly improved, going 11-for-33 (3/10 with runners in scoring position) with 5 walks, 8 strikeouts. 

News & Notes

  • Cutch notched his 1,500th hit with the Pirates with a leadoff single in the first before hitting 1,501 in the ninth. He is 14 away from 2,000 hits on his career
  • The 2 out rally was almost stopped before it started as Reynolds was initially ruled out at the plate but, after a challenge by the Pirates, was deemed safe.
  • The Pirates were 2-for-2 on the night with challenges as the top of the 8th saw Taveras ground into an initially-ruled fielder’s choice to short as he was called safe on the relay but the call was overturned after review.
  • There was a questionable send in the bottom of the 8th as Suwinski singled to right and Cutch got the green light coming in from 2nd but was out by a good 15 feet. There were previously some baserunning issues when a 1st inning attempt to steal a run off a first-and-third double steal situation resulted in Cutch being caught at home on a poorly-executed attempt.
  • Jung’s long ball was the first home run allowed by Bednar this season and first runs he had allowed since the April 11th game against the Astros.
  • This was the first game of the season where Ortiz had Austin Hedges as his battery mate and looked much more comfortable and confident than in his previous two starts.
  • Series versus the Rangers continues tomorrow as Rich Hill takes the bump against Nathan Eovaldi. First pitch is at 6:35PM. Let’s Go Bucs!