The Pirates had one of their typical games today. Facing one of baseball’s worst pitchers, Kyle “7.76 ERA” Freeland, in Coors Field, they got shut out, 2-0. Before Freeland left with a baserunning injury after five innings, the Pirates got just one walk and fanned seven times against a guy who came in with a high walk rate and a very low K rate. For the game, the Pirates had just six hits, all singles, and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. In the process, they wasted a good start from Tyler Anderson and another strong performance from the bullpen.
Or was it a typical Pirate loss? They’ve had to deal with unfavorable ball/strike calls all year, but this time they were facing one of MLB’s worst umpires, not to mention one of its worst people, Rob Drake. Freeland threw many of his pitches well off the plate and Drake consistently called them strikes. The Pirates’ hitters seemed to catch on, as they started chasing pitches well off the plate.
Anderson deserved better. He didn’t benefit much from Drake’s incompetence because, unlike Freeland, he threw actual strikes. Anderson gave up two runs over five innings. The first came when Freeland reached on a bunt in the third inning. After he was forced by Raimel Tapia, Yonathan Daza hit what looked like a routine single to right-center, but the ball rolled past Gregory Polanco and went for an RBI triple. The other run came on a fifth-inning home run by, naturally, Elias Diaz.
The bullpen, specifically Clay Holmes, Chasen Shreve and Kyle Crick, combined for three hitless and scoreless innings. Kevin Newman and Jacob Stallings each had two hits. Colin Moran left after getting hit on the hand by a pitch (it was not called a strike). The Pirates referred to the move as a “precaution.”
And Rob Drake needs to find a job at Walmart.