Pirates Postgame Commentary: August 23 vs Brewers

By COMON Network Team

Final Score – Pittsburgh Pirates (7-17) 5, Milwaukee Brewers (11-15) 2

WP: Chris Stratton (1-0)

LP: David Phelps (2-3)

SV: Richard Rodriguez (1)

A two-run blast from Gregory Polanco in the eighth inning was the difference as the Pirates completed a three-game sweep of Milwaukee, 5-4, Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh struck first with single runs in the first and second innings via singles by Adam Frazier and Jarrod Dyson. It remained 2-0 until the top of the fourth, when the Brewers cut the deficit in half on a double by Justin Smoak. Milwaukee tied it in the fifth on an Omar Narvaez single, and in sixth, Smoak struck again, giving the Brewers the lead with a two-run home run. Bryan Reynolds cut the deficit in half with a single in the bottom half of the sixth, and Polanco put the Pirates ahead for good two innings later.

The Bucs are off tomorrow, and begin a two-game set with the Chicago White Sox on the South Side Tuesday night at 8:10.

COMON Network Team Commentary

KYLE DAWSON

  • Man what a day for Gregory Polanco… two days for that matter. I dogged Polanco, and rightfully so, in a recent commentary piece for what has been a really abysmal start to the season, but at least the last two days have been really solid. He had two more hits tonight including the booming home run to win the game in the bottom of the eighth. He drew a walk. The exit velocity on the homer was 107.3 and an xBA of .930, so that tells you the story. His single was hit at 111.0 mph off the wood and that led the game. Good for El Coffee. If he and some of these others can keep swinging it, maybe they can get back in the mix. I give him all that credit to knock him for a moment… him getting picked off 2nd base in the spot he did is not acceptable. Two Pirates did that on the homestand. Whatever. The good outweighs the ugly today by a lot.
  • This really isn’t a Pirates’ beef. It’s a baseball beef. I have a serious problem with the decision to sac bunt Dyson to third with Stallings at the plate. Of course I bring it up because the Bucs made the decision today, but I’m so sick and tired of watching baseball teams give up one of their final nine outs to move a guy up 90 feet. I know it’s a multitude of what if scenarios but Gonzalez’s AB was HORRID and Frazier’s at bat wasn’t much better after that. I’m not playing for a sac fly. I’m not playing to hope for a wild pitch. Let Stallings, who is hitting .300, swing the bat. And let the approaches for Gonzalez and Frazier be a little bit different.
  • Good stuff from Sam Howard, Nik Turley, Chris Stratton and a pumped-up Richard Rodriguez. The bullpen after Hartlieb allowed the homer was good. JT Brubaker wasn’t that rough either despite the high pitch count through four. In fact, I’d argue he did what you needed him to, maybe with the exception of going a bit deeper, but it is what it is. The slider in the first three innings was FILTHY. Lots of whiffs or just called strikes on the five punchies through three.

Player of the Game – Gregory Polanco (PIT)

JOE SMELTZER

  • Derek Shelton’s decision to pull JT Brubaker in the fifth inning wasn’t the rookie skipper’s worst move of the year. In fact, it might not crack the top 25. But I would have preferred if Shelton let Brubaker— who would’ve been working with a runner on second and no outs— the chance to clean up his own mess rather than trusting a scrub named Geoff Hartlieb to do so. Brubaker was at 76 pitches, so he probably wouldn’t have lasted beyond the fifth anyway. Nonetheless, getting out of that jam could have been something that would have built up Brubaker’s confidence and made an already solid start even better.
  • Gregory Polanco will probably never become the player the Pirates expected him to be six years ago. But damn, it was good to see him come through the day he did today. Frustrating as he may be, Polanco always gives his all. He just hasn’t become a superstar because, well, baseball is difficult. Polanco is a guy you want to see succeed, and he did so in a big way today.
  • If Keone Kela has to miss any extended period of time, that’s a bummer. But Richard Rodriguez is capable of filling the ninth inning position. Quietly, Rodriguez has put together a solid year out of the ‘pen. Of course, it’s not like the Pirates will have much use for the closer role anyway.

Player of the Game – Gregory Polanco (PIT)

DONNY CHEDRICK

  • Can JT Brubaker work his way into a true starting spot? In what was another spot start for JT Brubaker Sunday afternoon turned out to be a promising sight for Pirates fans. Brubaker worked into the fifth inning, striking out six and giving up a pair of runs in a game he did not receive a decision. It was his career long in terms of outing length and at this point it begs the question. Can Brubaker become one of the five legitimate starters in this rotation at some point? With the trade deadline coming up and the Buccos being obvious sellers, he could slide into one of those spots for good.
  • The good, the bad and the ugly of El Coffee. Once again, Gregory Polanco shows what a liability he is on the bases. To the surprise of some, he got on base. But how shocking is it that he got picked off — and from second base, no less? It’s incredible to me the situations offensively and defensively that he cannot do correctly. However, there is some good to overshadow the bad news. Down by a run in the bottom of the eighth, Big Greg blasted a moonshot into right-center field. The homer gave the Bucs the lead and they would hold on for the win.
  • Rich Rod future closer? With Nick Burdi and Keone Kela on the shelf, Richard Rodriguez got his shot at closing out a ballgame. He delivered. Holding a one run lead, Rodriguez struck out the first two men in the ninth then finished it off by setting down the Brewers in order. If Kela is dealt, maybe the Pirates have his replacement — at least for the time being. Bucs get the sweep. A good feeling. Comon.

Player of the Game – Gregory Polanco (PIT)

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