The Pirates’ 10-0 loss to Cincinnati was filled with indications that the plan is working. It’s hard to know where to start.
To begin with, after allowing nine runs in the first two innings, J.T. Brubaker threw three scoreless innings. So it was a very positive performance, just like Wil Crowe’s in the previous game. If you just ignore the innings where he gave up runs, he threw shutout ball.
Then there was Hoy Park getting a late double in his only at-bat. It showed he’s adapting quickly to sitting behind veteran Mendoza Line Heroes like Gregory Polanco and Phillip Evans. Players like that need to stay in the starting lineup so other veterans will want to come to Pittsburgh, where they can put up a 70 OPS+ without jeopardizing their careers. It also keeps players like Anthony Alford from getting overconfident and thinking that all they have to do is put up a 1.013 OPS in AAA and they’ll get another shot at the majors.
Then there’s Kyle Keller, who gave up another home run. That’s five in 15 innings, an even one every three innings. He’s rounding into shape to compete for a job in next year’s bullpen.
And Luis Oviedo threw two good innings, so he’ll have some good memories while he sits idle for the next two weeks.
But the biggest winners are Pirate fans, both of them. They’re getting used to seeing the same, comically bad, deadend players on the field day after day after day. Every time the starting pitcher throws a couple good innings after turning the game into a blowout loss, or a young player has a good game and doesn’t get sent to the minors right away, it’ll seem like a triumph.