Pirates Waste Excellent Start From Trevor Williams

Trevor Williams did his job, bigly.  Unfortunately, baseball is a nine-man game and the Pirates lost to Minnesota, 5-2.

Williams went seven innings and gave up just three hits.  Of those, one was an infield hit and one was a popup.  Williams threw 98 pitches and walked only one.

Minnesota’s only run off Williams came in the second and it was a cheap one.  Williams hit Jake Cave, who went to second on a ground out.  After Mitch Garver fanned, Marwin Gonzalez hit a popup over third that barely caught a bit of the foul line, driving in the run.

After the second, the Twins got only two runners off Williams, and only one past first.  That came on a two-out double by Luis Arraez in the seventh.

The bullpen wasn’t so good.  Geoff Hartlieb couldn’t throw strikes, walking three in an inning and a third.  Dovydas Neverauskas replaced Hartlieb with two on in the eighth and let both those runs score, along with two of his own.  Most of the damage came on a Max Kepler three-run bomb.  That put the Twins up, 5-0.

The Pirates’ offense is still the Pirates’ offense.  They managed just three hits in the first eight innings, a single and a double by Josh Bell, and a single by Erik Gonzalez.  Gonzalez was thrown out stealing — the Pirates are just 3-for-6 in steal attempts — and Bell didn’t advance after either of his hits.

In the ninth, the Pirates came through with their standard fake rally.  Adam Frazier walked and came around on Bell’s second home run of the season.  Colin Moran struck out for the third time, ending the game.  He’s down to .220 and appears to be turning back into a pumpkin.  J.T. Riddle made his Pirates debut in the ninth and, fittingly, whiffed.  Welcome to Ben Cherington’s Pirates, who are batting .189.

The Pirates are now 2-10, MLB’s worst record.  It’s becoming very hard to avoid concluding that their 3-18-2 showing in spring training, also MLB’s worst, really did tell us something.