Pirates Postgame Commentary: August 3 vs Twins
By COMON Network Team
Final Score – Minnesota Twins (8-2) 5, Pittsburgh Pirates (2-8) 4
WP: Taylor Rogers (1-0) – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K – 16 pitches, 11 strikes
LP: Nick Burdi (0-1) – 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB – 20 pitches, 11 strikes
The Pirates lost in walk-off fashion for the second day in a row, as the Twins gave Pittsburgh its fifth-straight loss with a 5-4 win at Target Field.
The scoring started literally right away, as Cole Tucker homered on the game’s first pitch to put the Pirates in front 1-0. Pittsburgh doubled its advantage in the next inning when Jacob Stallings singled home Phillip Evans. The Bucs seemed to be in command with single runs in the fourth and fifth, but in the bottom of the sixth, the wheels started to fall off.
After Nelson Cruz singled home Minnesota’s first run, Pirates centerfielder Cole Tucker misplayed a Max Kepler fly ball, allowing two runs to score and making it a 4-3 game. This led to Derek Shelton electing to remove Derek Holland in favor of reliever Miguel Del Pozo. To continue an unfortunate pattern, Del Pozo walked the first three men he faced, and allowed the tying run to come in on a wild pitch.
It stayed 4-4 until the bottom of the ninth. With runners at second and third and one out, Nelson Cruz doubled off of Nick Burdi to score Jorge Polanco for the game’s winning run.
The teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon at 2:10 EST.
COMON Network Team Commentary
- Excuse my French. Why the f— is Miguel Del Pozo on this roster? That guy shouldn’t even be in the player poll. And why the hell is he the first one out from the pen to protect a one-run lead with a guy on base in the sixth inning? And why the hell did Derek Shelton pull Holland, for Del Pozo, or anyone for that matter, after he got a fly ball that should’ve got him out of the inning with the lead in tact at 4-1 if it wasn’t for a shortstop playing centerfield? Are we done with that experiment and can we put Tucker back at short instead of playing Erik Gonzalez?
- Derek Shelton has cost them a few games now with managerial decisions. The Del Pozo one is really bad. I don’t need to see any more from that guy. He’s not in the future. Don’t put him in if you’re trying to win.
- Two hitters in today’s lineup finished the game with an average better than .194. Two.
Player of the Game – Nelson Cruz (MIN) – 3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, walk-off hit
- Shelton continues to over manage: With only one-sixth of a 60 game season done, we’ve already seen Derek Shelton use a five -man infield and a four man outfield. That might be a sign that the Pirates rookie manager thinks a little too much for his own good. Tonight was another example of Shelton’s overthinking costing the Pirates. An already shorthanded bullpen took a beating Sunday at Wrigley Field, so Shelton shouldn’t have used a reliever before the seventh inning unless starting pitcher Derek Holland gave him a reason to. If not for Cole Tucker, Holland would have gotten through six innings allowing just one run, and even with Tucker’s error extending the bottom of the sixth, Holland deserved a chance to get out of the frame, needing only to retire Marwin Gonzalez. Instead, Shelton put his faith in Del Pozo, who has already proven that he can’t pitch. This allowed the Twinkies to tie the game, which they’d ultimately win in walk off fashion. It’s far too early to write Shelton off, but so far, his on-field decision making isn’t reminding anybody of John McGraw.
- Big guns still struggling: A big reason the Pirates offense has been so inept is because its three best hitters from last season— Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman— haven’t showed up. Although the bats showed some signs of life tonight, the Pirates’ big three combined to go just 2-for-11. On the one hand, it’s great that the offense was for once, an asset and not a liability, but it can’t rely on Phillip Evans and Luis Heredia to pace it. For the lineup be respectable in 2020, Bell, Reynolds and Newman need to produce. Right now, they aren’t.
- The war on intentional walks: Yesterday, Shelton should have walked Javy Baez with winning run on third and one out in the bottom of the 11th. He didn’t, and the Pirates lost. Tonight, he should have walked Nelson Cruz with one out and runners at second and third. He didn’t, and the Pirates lost. I don’t want to rip too much on Shelton. He’s a first year skipper walking into the strangest season in baseball history with little talent to work with. With that said, there are easy decisions that he just butchers, and the Pirates are losing games because of it.
Player of the Game – Nelson Cruz (MIN)
- Del Pozo should be in Altoona. I know injuries brought him to the main roster, but another guy on the taxi squad deserves a shot. A relief appearance in which he recorded no outs, walked three and a wild pitch let the tying run score after a good Derek Holland effort went to waste. 18 pitches, six strikes. Inexcusable.
- Bottom of the order provides life. Evans, Heredia, Stallings and Gonzalez combined for fives hits and three runs batted in Monday night. The only other offense came from Cole Tucker in the opening at bat of the game, hitting his first dinger of 2020.
- Worst team in baseball! Something to be proud of. 2-8 and no signs of things to get better. 4-0 lead blown tonight. Will this team reach 20 wins?
Player of the Game – Nelson Cruz (MIN)