No comedy value here. The Pirates couldn’t hit, couldn’t pitch and couldn’t field, and lost their third straight to Milwaukee and sixth straight overall, 11-2.
Pretty much everybody sucked. The Pirates brought Cody Ponce up from AAA, where he wasn’t pitching well, and he didn’t pitch well. He couldn’t throw strikes, walking three and giving up six hits, half of them doubles. He left with two outs in the second with some sort of arm injury. By then the Brewers were up, 5-0.
The Pirates got one back in the bottom of the second. Jared Oliva singled in a run, which put runners at the corners with two outs to Duane Underwood, Jr., who’d relieved Ponce. That gave Derek Shelton a chance to renew his commitment to the Irrelevance of Wins. He let Underwood hit with a four-run deficit, and Underwood struck out.
Underwood actually provided almost the only relief Pirate fans would get from incompetent baseball. He threw three and a third scoreless innings.
Of course, it didn’t matter. Eric Lauer, one of Milwaukee’s lesser starters, easily dominated the Pirates even though he didn’t throw an overabundance of strikes. He gave up four hits, all singles, over six and a third innings. The Pirates never managed to fake a rally.
Except for Underwood and Sam Howard, the bullpen was terrible. Chris Stratton, Kyle Keller and Chasen Shreve gave up two runs in an inning each, although one of Keller’s was unearned due to an Adam Frazier error. Howard struck out two in a quick inning. The Brewers had more baserunners than they knew what to do with, thanks to nine walks and 16 hits.
The Pirates have trouble scoring even when the top of their order is hitting well, but today Frazier, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds combined to go 1-for-14. The second run came on Ben Gamel’s fourth home run of the year, in the eighth. Gamel had two of the Pirates’ seven hits.
Tomorrow the Pirates will try to avoid the four-game sweep. Or maybe they won’t. Whatever. If the GM and manager don’t care, why should the fans?