The great 4-0 start the Pirates were riding high with has been completely erased as they drop their third straight game to Detroit to come back to .500 (5-5) for the first time since Opening Day.
First, the Pirates are getting baserunners and hits consistently. They’re just missing the big hit right now…or any hit with runners in scoring position. They loaded the bases twice today with two outs and with one out and came out with zero runs in both. The bad news is that they’ve stranded 88 baserunners, which is the most in MLB by 19. Their struggles with runners in scoring position won’t stay all year as things with even out so I’m not worried about that.
The other problem appears to be the bullpen as no one outside of Melancon and Feliz are doing their job. You could say Tony Watson was doing his job until today, however, when he served up three runs in the 8th inning on a three-run home run to Nick Castellanos when the Pirates had just scored three in the bottom of the 7th inning to get back into the game. When things don’t go great and one reliable player performs bad, it feels like the sky is falling. This is not the case, so let’s take a breathe.
Some good news from today’s game besides the 14 hits was Gerrit Cole‘s performance as he improves and shakes off more rust. He tossed 6.0 innings with just two runs allowed on four hits, struck out five and walked one. It was an encouraging start and one that Cole can build on.