Pirates Postgame Commentary: August 18 vs Indians

By COMON Network Team

Final Score – Cleveland Indians (14-9) 6, Pittsburgh Pirates (4-15) 3

WP: Nick Wittgren (1-0)

LP: Sam Howard (1-1)

SV: Brad Hand (6)

The Pirates suffered a 10-inning defeat at the hands of the Indians Tuesday night and it wasn’t without a bit of controversy. Carlos Santana knocked in five, including a 10th-inning three-run homer that appeared foul from AT&T SportsNet’s replay angles, but with it called fair on the field, that where apparently not enough evidence to overturn it, and it stood as the winning hit.

Pittsburgh, who hadn’t played since Friday due to a positive COVID-19 test with the Reds, started the scoring when Colin Moran singled home Kevin Newman in the first inning. Santana plated two with a single in the third before a sac fly scored a third for Cleveland. Josh Bell’s two-run double tied things in the 5th before the Santana homer was the final scoring play.

The series continues tomorrow at 7:05 p.m.

COMON Network Team Commentary

JOE SMELTZER

  • I think Carlos Santana’s game winning home run was probably a foul ball. Yet, the world still spins.
  • I wrote last week about what a pleasant surprise Erik Gonzalez’s bat has been for the Pirates this season, and his two strong defensive plays at third base tonight— one of which involved snagging a 108 MPH line drive— showed that he can still flash the leather, too. Maybe Gonzalez’s strong start to 2020 is magnified by how bad most of his teammates are, but in any case, he’s been rock solid, something nobody imagined he’d ever be for Pittsburgh not too long ago.
  • The Pirates bullpen, for the most part, did a good job tonight, but it still would have been nice to see JT Brubaker go a little longer than three innings. True, Brubaker has dealt with injuries recently, so it’s easy to understand why Derek Shelton would want to be cautious. At the same time, however, this organization is lacking in promising young arms outside of Mitch Keller, who won’t be pitching again until next spring. So Brubaker deserves a look. With a total of six innings over two starts, he isn’t getting much of one.

Player of the Game – Carlos Santana (CLE)

KYLE DAWSON

  • JT Brubaker was good until he lost his release point a bit in the first part of the third. I don’t know how to describe it, but to encourage you to check out the Baseball Savant game feed. Here’s a tweet from one-time Pod guest Alex Stumpf, who is a huge Savant guy on the topic. Other than that, Brubaker wasn’t bad, and I think he deserves an extended look in the rotation.
  • I thought the ball was foul in the 10th. I also think there’s no excuse for the game to have gone to a 10th inning. First and second, nobody out in the 9th for the Buccos and the lead runner in Jarrod Dyson gets picked off second base. That’s unacceptable. It can’t happen.
  • The bullpen was solid. I thought from an all-around perspective, the Pirates played pretty well tonight. Kudos to Kela, who I thought got squeezed a bit and was able to work around it.

Player of the Game – Carlos Santana (CLE)

RYAN SIMPSON

  • JT Brubaker continues to be one of the only bright spots on the team. Guy is not a starter anymore and is doing his best to keep his team in the game. Holland looked good in his two innings of work tonight in a bounce back performance. Rest of the pen pitched well even if Kela was getting hosed on some calls in his outing.
  • The bats are starting to come around. Shocker than Moran gets another RBI and Newman stays hot at the dish. Bell’s RBI double was good to see, but he also came up in the ninth in a big spot to miss two MEATBALLS. I don’t understand how Bell went from mashing fastballs last year to having a xBA of .273 on FBs this season (Baseball-Savant). While we are talking stats for Bell thus far, let’s look at his plate approach this year compared to last. In 2019, Bell had a chase percentage of 27.5 and its up to 32.6% this season. Whiff percentage last year was 25.3 while this year it’s WAYYYY up to 33.8. That’s a problem.
  • Disappointing end to the game as well. Dyson needs to stay on second there. Newman hits a single to left and Dyson has a good shot at scoring. Santana’s homer was foul, but who cares this season.

Player of the Game – Carlos Santana (CLE)

DONNY CHEDRICK

  • The piggyback worked! With JT Brubaker making the start, it was not likely he would get much beyond the fourth inning. He went three, but the Pirates brought in Derek Holland, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings in relief. A good use of the piggyback strategy that hasn’t been 100% successful this year.
  • Oliver Perez can still pitch at PNC Park. Over 14 years since his last start as a Bucco in Pittsburgh, Oliver Perez came out of the bullpen to throw a scoreless inning for the Indians Tuesday night. Perez has two punch outs in the frame as a bunch of 20-something year old Pirate fans couldn’t help but smile.
  • Life ain’t fair. This time it’s foul. A foul ball home run called fair was the difference in this one. Indians won 6-3 thanks to five runs batted in from Carlos Santana, including the three run shot in the top of the tenth inning.

Player of the Game – Carlos Santana (CLE)

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