Pirates Postgame Commentary: July 28 vs Brewers

By COMON Network Team

Introducing the COMON Network Pirates Postgame Commentary. This isn’t your traditional recap. We know you have other options to read a traditional recap of the game. So here’s what you can expect from us after each game. We will start the commentary with a very brief cliff notes of the game including the scoring and pitching decisions along with the pitchers’ lines for the night. Once you get through that, the COMON Network Team will provide you with our thoughts on the game. We’ll tell you the parts of the game we thought were monumental towards the result, our take on managerial decisions, highlights, lowlights and much more. COMON.

Final Score – Pittsburgh Pirates (2-3) 8, Milwaukee Brewers (2-3) 6

WP: Geoff Hartlieb (1-0) – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K – 17 pitches, 12 strikes

LP: Bobby Wahl (0-1) – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K – 14 pitches, 8 strikes

SV: Nick Burdi (1) – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K – 15 pitches, 7 strikes

Tuesday saw a solid first impression for Derek Holland, two hits and an outfield assist from Bryan Reynolds, one assist from Guillermo Heredia and a late-inning home run from Adam Frazier got the Pirates back in the win column in the middle game of their first home series of 2020.

What started as a standard contest turned into a roller coaster. The evening started well enough for the home team. After Holland kept the Brewers in check through the first four innings, the Pirates’ offense finally broke through for two runs in the bottom half of the fourth when Phillip Evans’ single scored Reynolds and Colin Moran to put Pittsburgh ahead 2-0.

It stayed that way until the top of the six, when Keston Hiura’s knack for dominating the Pirates showed up for the first time in 2020. The Brewers’ second baseman took Holland deep to tie the score at two, and things would get worse before they got better.

Holland departed later in the sixth, and gave way to the Pirates bullpen. Chris Stratton issued two walks to start the seventh, prompting Derek Shelton to call on the debuting Miguel Del Pozo. Del Pozo proceeded to walk three batters, give up two runs and record zero outs. By the seventh inning stretch, the Brewers had a 6-2 lead. Milwaukee’s advantage wouldn’t last long.

To the Pirates’ credit, the team fought back in the bottom of the seventh with four runs, aided by a bases-loaded walk to Kevin Newman and a botched fielder’s choice. Evans tied the game with a two-out double, and the game entered the eighth inning tied at six.

Frazier’s two-run homer in the eighth put the Pirates in front for good, and Nick Burdi closed the door on Milwaukee in the ninth.

The Bucs will look to take the series in tomorrow’s rubber game at PNC Park. First pitch is set for 7:05.

COMON Network Team Commentary

Joe Smeltzer

  • Although this Pirates’ team isn’t going to win a lot of games, it won’t be for lack of effort. Although the Bucs are just 2-3, they’ve had a chance to win four of their five games thus far, and this against two teams that were in the playoffs last year. Derek Shelton’s on-field decision making has been iffy at best, but he has his squad poised to reach whatever limited potential it has.
  • As entertaining as the two games with the Brewers at PNC Park have been, from a baseball quality standpoint, it’s been pretty ugly. Tonight, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee combined to walk 13 batters and leave 31 runners on base. Yikes. Much of this sloppy play is likely due to teams going nine months without playing a meaningful baseball game, so hopefully as this shortened season goes on, the quality of play will become more clean.
  • Last May, Josh Bell was drawing comparisons to Willie Stargell. Through the first five games, however, he looks more like Willie Nelson. A 1-for-5 effort tonight put Bell’s average right at the Mendoza Line, and his on-base percentage isn’t much higher at .227. Obviously, Bell has a lot of time to figure things out, but on a darker note, the Pirates’ first baseman has been in decline since late in the first half of last season. Hopefully, Bell can start hitting bombs again, but don’t dismiss that Bell has already reached his peak, or that people will wonder if the Pirates couldn’t have dealt him off this winter when his value was at its highest.

Player of the Game – Bryan Reynolds (PIT) – 2-4, 1 R, 2 K, outfield assist that kept the game tied at 6-6

Kyle Dawson

  • Derek Holland was awesome in his Pirates’ debut. Take away the one walk and the one pitch, the home run by Keston Hirua that he put a good swing on, and you’ve got what was a solid start. He did a nice job against the righty-heavy lineup. The knuckle-curve looked good and he only elevated it a few times, and he stayed in to a lot of guys with the entire arsenal he had going.
  • Miguel Del Pozo has twice had a WHIP sub 1.500 as a reliever in his minor-league career. Why the hell is that guy the second guy out of the bullpen? Plus he came in with two on, nobody out, in the seventh inning of a tie game. I don’t know what else to say.
  • The Brewers sure blew this one after being gifted four in the seventh, huh? Specifically Brent Suter. My goodness was he bad after getting Moran to end the sixth. Suter threw 42 pitches, 25 for strikes. He hit a batter and walked one and his misses weren’t particularly close. You’ll find in these I will often look at a shut-down inning opportunity in a game. For the Brewers to not get a shut-down (a zero after they score) in the 7th is flat out bad. That’s gotta be a zero for Milwaukee and Suter never gave them a chance. He was the Pirates’ savior in this game.

Player of the Game – Brent Suter (MIL) – 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K – See above

Donny Chedrick

  • Promising stuff from Holland: Derek Holland made his official Pirates debut on Tuesday night and quite honestly, I was pleased. He gave the team a chance to win. He went 5.2 innings and allowed two hits and two runs with three walks and five strikeouts. That’s a line that could look a lot worse. Just ask the Pirates’ bullpen… By the way, finding out he attended a Counting Crows concert automatically made me a fan of his.
  • Yelich continues to struggle: One of the best players in the National League and all of baseball over the last few seasons is off to a very cold start. Christian Yelich was 0-4 tonight with a pair of strikeouts, making him 1-22 (.045) on the season with the only hit being a home run.
  • Could Burdi challenge Kela? Nick Burdi has been the only reliable guy out of the bullpen so far. Yes, the season is only five games in, but twice Nick Burdi has gotten his name called to save a game and he has done it. Should Burdi stay in that spot if/when Keone Kela returns?

Player of the Game – Adam Frazier (PIT) – 1-4, 2 R, 2-R HR – Game-winning home run will do it

Ryan Simpson

  • Derek Holland did look decent in his debut. Per baseball-reference.com, Holland’s last start of 5+ IP and 2 ER or fewer came on April 9th, 2019 as a member of the SF Giants. His line was 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9 K so maybe this is a sign of things to come.
  • Bryan Reynolds and Jacob Stallings came up HUGE in the top of the eighth, nailing Ryan Braun at the plate. Reynolds has two outfield assists in his last three games while he only had four during the 2019 season.
  • I love the late-inning rallies in these recent games. I hope to see this offense become a tad more consistent, but the season is still young.

Player of the Game – Cole Tucker (PIT) – 2-4, 2 R, 2B – Tucker came back up in the 8th inning with a double toward the North Side notch and came around to score on the Adam Frazier blast. Hope he stays hot and finds a home in right field. What a boost for him after striking out in each of his first two times up.

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