A ten-run sixth inning sent the Pirates to their second consecutive embarrassing loss, this one 13-4, to the Mets. Since peeking above .500 back in April, the Pirates are 20-44.
J.T. Brubaker pitched well through five innings, giving up two runs in the third. He couldn’t retire anybody in the sixth, though, giving up four runs, the last three on a blast by Pete Alonzo.
At the time, Alonzo’s shot put the Mets up, 6-2. Sam Howard replaced Brubaker and couldn’t find the plate, throwing just 13 of 31 pitches for strikes. Derek Shelton, though, left him in to give up three walks and a hit batsman, along with one hit. Howard retired only one batter and left with the bases loaded. Kyle Keller promptly gave up a grand slam to Francisco Lindor.
Austin Davis threw the last two innings. He fanned four but gave up another home run.
The Pirates, meanwhile, had lots of opportunities. In fact, they had more baserunners than the Mets. Between hits, walks and hit batsmen, they had 17 and the Mets 15. But the Mets went 3-for-6 w/ RISP, hit four home runs and stranded just two. The Pirates were 2-for-14 w/ RISP, hit one homer and stranded 11.
The Pirates got the game’s first run on a bases-loaded hit batsman. That was Michael Perez, who otherwise went 0-for-3 to drop his average to .131. Among the 366 players with 100 or more plate appearances in MLB, Perez ranks 365th in BA. (Ka’ai Tom is 364th.) After the Mets got two off Brubaker, the Pirates tied the game in the fifth when Jared Oliva doubled and Adam Frazier singled to drive him in.
The Pirates’ third run came in the seventh, when Rodolfo “Just Depth” Castro ripped his first career homer as a pinch hitter. John Nogowski drove in the last run on a two-out single in the ninth. Nogowski went 3-for-4 and is now 10-for-16 as a Pirate.
So there’s a few things we’re learning recently:
- The Pirates’ pitching is really quite bad. It probably needs as much of an overhaul as the position players. More, maybe, since there’s no pitching equivalent of Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes.
- Brubaker consistently seems to hit a wall after pitching well for a few innings. He may get over that, or he may ultimately be better as a reliever.
- This bullpen isn’t that good. Possibly the only “keepers” in it, ignoring trade possibilities, are Richard Rodriguez and David Bednar.
- Those of us who, earlier this year, thought Derek Shelton was good at juggling a motley array of relievers were wrong. Shelton is rigid and formulaic. He doesn’t adapt to game situations or to the variability of reliever performance, and always gives a higher priority to how he’ll get through tomorrow’s game than winning today’s game.
- The only remotely worthwhile developments for fans the rest of the year are going to come from young players like Castro and Max Kranick. At least, if they get a chance. There are plenty of good things happening in the organization, but the front office and manager seem determined to prevent them from filtering up to the major league level.