Luckily for Pirates fans, the NHL is back and they can watch a winning product. The Pirates dropped their fifth straight by a score of 5-4. Nelson Cruz ended it with a walk-off hit to the warning track.
I don’t want to judge a new manager based on ten games, but some of the decisions by Derek Shelton just don’t make much sense. The pitchers that continue to come out of the bullpen aren’t major league players. Derek Holland struggled in the 6th inning and was removed for Miguel Del Pozo. Del Pozo shouldn’t be on any major league roster. Two walks, a wild pitch, and another walk followed before being removed from the game.
There have been a pile of other odd decisions like leaving Burdi, arguably your best pitcher, in the bullpen in the 9th inning against the Brewers. Burdi again was ignored in extra innings which led to another Pirates loss.
Shelton also seems to ignore the option of intentional walks. I’ve noticed at least three times this year, including Nelson Cruz last night, where a base was open but Shelton trusted in his guys to get the out.
I wish I could just look away but I love baseball too much. They even draw you in a little bit with the excitement. 5 of the 8 losses have been by one run. But that is where the bullpen is needed and there is no help coming. Chad Kuhl and Nick Burdi have been bright spots but with the starters only lasting into the fifth and sixth inning, you need at least 4 trustworthy arms to go to.
Three more games in Minnesota remain the rest of this week. I expect the Twins to break out in a couple of these games and put a thumping on the Bucs. The Twins are 8th in the league in runs and 3rd in the league in home runs. If you like the long ball, tune in. If not, it might be best to find something else to watch.
TANK FOR ROCKER