Pirates Postgame Commentary: August 20 vs Indians

By COMON Network Team

Final Score – Cleveland Indians (16-9) 2, Pittsburgh Pirates (4-17) 0

WP: Shane Bieber (5-0)

LP: Trevor Williams (1-4)

SV: Brad Hand (7)

Cleveland used strong pitching from Shane Bieber and company as well as singular runs in the second and eighth innings to finish a three-game sweep of the Pirates at PNC Park Thursday night, winning 2-0 to grab their 16th win of the year and 6th straight.

Beau Taylor singled home the game’s first run in the second inning. The only other run in the contest came from a fielder’s choice error by Josh Bell trying to get a force at home. The throw pulled Jacob Stallings off home plate.

The Pirates have lost 12 of 14 and now get set to welcome in Milwaukee for a weekend set. Chad Kuhl takes the mound in the series opener tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. on the North Side.

COMON Network Team Commentary

KYLE DAWSON

  • Shane Bieber made easy work of the Pirates’ lineup tonight, to no surprise. The pitch mix and ability to throw whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted was ludicrous. That guy is fun to watch. Hitters are in fits trying to make late decisions, thus the check swing attempts and some whiffs. Bieber’s 65 punchies through six starts are the 4th most in a pitcher’s first six starts in the Modern Era (since 1900) – he trails Pedro Martinez (66 in 2001, 67 in 2000) and Nolan Ryan (71 in 1978). His ERA is down to 1.11. I mean he’s just awesome. No other way around it. Combine the knuckle curve and slider’s swings and 13 of the 21 were whiffs by Pirates’ hitters tonight. Both of those pitchers are thrown hard and with a ton of tight spin. Man was he a joy to watch pitch tonight.
  • Bieber’s opponent, Trevor Williams, battled tonight. Williams ended up only going four and allowed a run but he battled through not having his best stuff and kept the Bucs in the game, as did Sam Howard, Brandon Waddell, Chris Stratton and Nik Turley. The Bucs had their chance to reward this pitching staff for a job well done tonight and couldn’t get the job done. Again, that’s a lot because of Bieber, but they had a shot in the sixth with first and third and nobody out and frankly had three pathetic at bats to come away with nothing. Adam Frazier’s strike three was a swing. Osuna’s K was bad and JT Riddle put an uncompetitive swing on his fly ball.
  • Kevin Newman had a couple knocks. He seems to be turning it around a bit, while others continue to sink. I’m ready to see what Ke’Bryan Hayes can do. I’m not sure I’d call up Oneil Cruz yet or Travis Swaggerty, but it wouldn’t kill them to give Jason Martin another look or a Will Craig type. See what you have. If you’re going to lose every night, do it while we get a look at some of those guys.

Player of the Game – Shane Bieber (CLE)

JOE SMELTZER

  • I’m growing more convinced by the game— by the minute— that the Josh Bell Pittsburgh fell in love with last May is dead, or at least in hospice care. True, the Pirates have only played 21 games, but what about the second half of last year, when he hit .233 with 10 home runs compared to 27 in the first half? Hell, what about 2018, when he only hit 12 the whole year? Bell’s potential is off the charts and he’s hardly over the hill yet, but he needs to do something. Aside from last May, Bell’s career has been quite ordinary.
  • The lead headline in the right corner of the Pirates website reads; “Shelton sees need to ‘find ways to have fun.’” I’ve yet to read the article, but I think scoring more than one run over 23 innings of baseball would be a good start, Derek. 
  • For those of you who read yesterday’s commentary, what did I tell you about Shane Bieber? As I, and probably everybody else predicted, Bieber had minimal trouble with the Pirates lineup, allowing no runs and no walks over six innings and striking out 11. I referred to Bieber as a “budding superstar” in my notes. I think I may have undersold him. At 5-0 with a 1.11 ERA, he’s threatening to run away with the AL Cy Young Award.

Player of the Game – Shane Bieber (CLE)

RYAN SIMPSON

  • Trevor Williams is a freaking warrior man. I understand that having your starter go four innings is never ideal, but his pitch count was creeping to 100. Williams leads the team in WAR (0.5) this season and the guy has pitched in five games this year. That speaks to how much Williams is trying to do his job and also how miserable this Pirates offense is at the dish.
  • Bieber is a walking punchie right now. Dude came in and shoved tonight as expected. Not much to say there.
  • Pirates have now scored two or fewer runs in eight of their 21 games. Last time I checked, that is not good. Pirates run differential this season is -44 which is the third worst in the MLB, only ahead of Boston and Seattle.
  • Lastly, I want to call out the Pirates coaching staff: Joey Bart and Sixto Sánchez both got the call up today. Alec Bohm of the Phillies got called up this past week as well. With the season in shambles, call up Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz and Travis Swaggerty. I don’t care to see the same guys in the lineup everyday during this season. Bring up some youth and see if they can spark some life into this team.

Player of the Game – Shane Bieber (CLE)

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