Many of us are keeping the faith that the future is bright for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They do have some exciting young players that could be cornerstones to potential playoff success. However, the one area that still has many questions marks is pitching. Aside from Mitch Keller, it is hard to see what the future rotation will look like. Yes, there are some names in the minors, but because of injury and poor performance, it is unclear who will take the ball to start the game in 2024.
Those questions grew Saturday night against the Chicago Cubs, where Pittsburgh used five pitchers, none lasting longer than 2.1 innings. Chicago also used five pitchers, but their starter worked five innings on the way to a 10-6 victory. The Pirates once again used an opener, which seems to be what they will do for most nights over the next month of the season.
A solo home run by Ke’Bryan Hayes in the first gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. That lead was short lived as the Cubs added three runs in the third and five in the fifth to put this game away. The Pirates used a five run sixth inning to make this game close, but Chicago would add two insurance runs in the ninth to seal the deal.
Colin Selby was used to cover the first two innings and looked good striking out three batters. It would be Osvaldo Bido who let the team down over 2.1 innings. He would allow eight runs on five hits with five walks and one strikeout. One must wonder why Derek Shelton left him in with these control issues, which is just another reason fans question his ability to manage. Ryan Borucki and Rob Zastryzny covered the next 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball, before Thomas Hatch allowed two runs in the ninth.
Jordan Wicks allowed one run on two hits with nine strikeouts and a walk in his start with the Cubs. Hayden Wesneski was hit hard over 1.2 innings, giving up five runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Mark Leiter Jr., Daniel Palencia, and Adbert Alzolay would combine to allow one hit with two walks and five strikeouts over the final 2.1 innings
Some nights it is a lack of hitting for the Buccos, and other nights it is a lack of pitching. Tonight, it was the latter. With a little over a month to go in the season, it will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh goes with this opener strategy or gives guys a chance to show their worth for 2024. These two teams will wrap up their four-game series Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.
Record vs. Cubs: 1-8
Record vs. N.L. Central: 17-22
Record at Home: 32-35
Overall Record: 58-72
Let’s Go Bucs!