Poor Offense, Bad Bullpen Usage Cost Pirates Two Games: 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Week Seven Recap

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Poor Offense, Bad Bullpen Usage Cost Pirates Two Games: 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Week Seven Recap


Poor Offense, Bad Bullpen Usage Cost Pirates Two Games: 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Week Seven Recap


The Pirates split a mid-week series in Detroit before returning home and dropping a series to Arizona. The series loss to the Diamondbacks stings a bit extra as both Saturday’s and Sunday’s games were extremely winnable and were blundered away by manager Derek Shelton and the bullpen. It also does not help that the top prospects are playing well in the minor leagues and seemingly will never get the call. 

Game 42: Pittsburgh 0, Detroit 4

Luis Ortiz took the mound against Michael Lorenzen and the Tigers in game one of a short two-game set. Detroit would open the scoring in the first as Riley Green doubled and Javier Baez singled him home. Spencer Torkelson added on with an RBI double of his own as the Tigers led 2-0. 

Ortiz would get back into trouble in the third.as Torkelson would double again and Akil Baddoo singled to put runners on the corners with one out. The Tigers would take advantage of two Ortiz errors as Torkelson scored via a wild pickoff throw and Baddoo came around on a wild pitch. Detroit led 4-0 after three innings. Ortiz went three innings allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks while striking out three hitters.

Yoan Ramirez tossed 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out four before Duane Underwood Jr. finished the game with 2.2 solid, scoreless innings of his own. Pittsburgh was only able to muster five hits and two walks off Lorenzen. Carlos Santana was the only Pirate to reach base twice via a double and a walk. Will Vest and Jose Cisnero tossed three shutout innings to finish the game.

Game 43: Pittsburgh 8, Detroit 0

The Pirates sent Rich Hill to the mound to attempt to salvage a series split. The Tigers would counter with Eduardo Rodriguez and his 1.57 ERA. After Rodriguez held the Bucs off the board in the top of the first, Matt Vierling would lead off the bottom of the inning with an infield single off the glove of Hill. It would be the only hit Detroit would have in the game.

Pittsburgh struck first in the second inning. Connor Joe singled and Rodolfo Castro walked to set the table. Following a pair of outs, Austin Hedges smoked a line drive to center that deflected off Vierling’s glove, allowing two runs to score. He was awarded a double but it was extremely generous scoring. Castro would add on in the third with a solo homer to left center. The Pirates led 3-0 after four.

Pittsburgh’s two-out offense would continue as Bryan Reynolds doubled and Andrew McCutchen singled him home. Rodriguez would exit after the fifth inning after allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five. Rich Hill would continue to roll as he finished with six, strong innings allowing only one hit and walking two while striking out seven Tigers.

The Pirates would break the game open in the seventh inning. McCutchen would reach on a fielder’s choice following a Reynolds lead off single. He would be driven in by a Carlos Santana RBI double. Joe would then drive in McCutchen with a single of his own. Castro would keep the singles-train moving, driving in Santana. Hedges would finish the scoring with his third RBI of the afternoon to make it 8-0 Bucs.

Robert Stephenson, Joe Hernandez and Dauri Moreta would each toss a scoreless, hitless inning with Stephenson and Hernandez striking out two and Moreta throwing 10 pitches and striking out the side. The Pirates would head home for a big series against the Diamondbacks.

Game 44: Pittsburgh 13, Arizona 3

Johan Oviedo got the ball for game one of the homestand against Arizona’s Zac Gallen. Gallen entered tonight with a 2.35 ERA and an early frontrunner of the National League Cy Young Award. The Pirates would strike first in second inning as Santana and Ke’Bryan Hayes slashed back-to-back doubles to make it 1-0. The Snakes would strike back in the third as Geraldo Perdomo hit a solo home run to level the score.

Pittsburgh would retake the lead in the fourth as Tucupita Marcano worked a one-out walk before Ji Hwan Bae doubled to put two on with one away. Josh Palacios then singled both runners home to put the Bucs up 3-1. With the bases loaded, Reynolds would work a walk to extend the lead. Jack Suwinski followed that with a two-run double before Hayes capped off the seven-run inning with a two-run single.

Gallen would end his night after 3.2 innings allowing eight runs (five earned), five hits and four walks. Anthony Misiewicz would enter to finish the fourth inning and begin the fifth. The Pirates offense would get to the reliever as well as Reynold belted his first homer since early April to put Pittsburgh up 11-1. Johan Oviedo would be pulled after six innings and 96 pitches in a much-needed, solid outing. Oviedo only allowed one run on two hits and three walks while striking out seven in the win.

Underwood Jr. would enter in the seventh, allow two runs thanks to two walks and a two-RBI double, then exit due to an apparent forearm/elbow injury. Yohan Ramirez would enter and toss another solid 1.2, scoreless innings. The Pirates would add two more off a position player in the eight. Colin Holderman would pitch a scoreless ninth to cap off the game-one win for the Pirates.

Game 45: Pittsburgh 3, Arizona 4

Pirates ace Mitch Keller would get the ball as Pittsburgh would look to win the series. Arizona would send rookie Brandon Pfaadt to the bump. The Diamondbacks would strike first as Ketel Marte smashed a solo home run into the center field ivy. The Pirates would threaten in the first but not score. Pittsburgh would then threaten again in the third as Hedges singled and Reynolds walked. Santana would work a two-out walk of his own to load the bases for Hayes. Hayes would deliver as he lined a three-run triple off the left side of the Clemente Wall in right center field.

Keller settled in following the first-inning homer as he retired 17 of the first 18 hitters he faced. With two outs in the sixth, Keller would hit Josh Rojas with a pitch before Marte reached on an infield single. Following a double steal, Corbin Carroll brough home a run with another infield single as the D-Backs cut the lead to 3-2. Keller would get Christian Walker to bounce back to him to end the inning.

The top of the seventh inning would see Derek Shelton make a mistake that would eventually cost the Pirates the game. Shelton would replace Keller after only 84 pitches with Robert Stephenson. The move would immediately prove costly as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled and Pavin Smith blasted a two-run homer to give Arizona a 4-3 lead. 

There were three better options for Shelton that were not Stephenson. The first, and obvious choice, was to leave Keller in to start the inning at the very least. The second would be to replace Keller with Dauri Moreta who should be the seventh inning man anyways. The third would be to go with Jose Hernandez who would have to clean up Stephenson’s mess. None of those options involved Stephenson.

Moreta and David Bednar would finish out the game with Hernandez, keeping the deficit at one. The Pirates would threaten in the eighth inning with Suwinski doubling with one out and Castro reaching in the ninth. Neither runner would advance past second base. The Pirates would drop a very winnable game two.

Game 46: Pittsburgh 3, Arizona 8

Roansy Contreras and Merrill Kelly would face off in the rubber match of the series. The Diamondbacks would strike first again as Carroll hit a solo shot to right. The Pirates would tie the game in the second following a Joe walk and a Kelly error on a pickoff attempt and wild pitch. 

Arizona would get the runs right back as Jose Herrera led off the third with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He would score on another wild pitch with two outs to make it 2-1. The Snakes would extend its lead in the fifth. Perdomo would walk and be bunted to second by Herrera before Smith singled him home.

Pittsburgh would finally get to Kelly in the fifth as Joe and Castro slashed back-to-back singles. Marcano would then quickly fall behind 0-2 in the count. After working the count to full, Marcano laced a two-run double to right to tie the game at three. Moreta would replace Contreras in another somewhat head-scratching move by Shelton. The wheels would fall off for the Pirates defense as a rare throwing error by Hayes put Walker on second. Moreta would then make an error of his own, allowing the run to score.

The Diamondback would add on in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Rob Zastryzny would allow a lead off single before grabbing two outs and being replaced by Stephenson for some reason. Stephenson would pick up right where he left off yesterday as he not only allowed the inherited runner to score but two more as well. It was 7-3 Arizona.

The Diamondback would add one more off Ramirez in the ninth as the Pirates would go without a whimper as the series was completely thrown away. 

NL Central Standings

Milwaukee 25 21 .543
Pittsburgh 24 22 .522 1.0
St. Louis 21 27 .438 5.0
Chicago 20 26 .435 5.0
Cincinnati 19 27 .413 6.0


Weekly Awards

Hitter of the Week: Andrew McCutchen – 7/20 (.350 AVG), 3 R, RBI, 2 BB

Starter of the Week: Rich Hill – 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, H, 2 BB, W

Reliever of the Week: Yohan Ramirez – 3 G, 6.0 IP, ER, 7 K, 5 H, BB

Upcoming Schedule

vs Texas Rangers (29-17) – May 22-24

at Seattle Mariners (22-24) – May 26-28


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