Pirates 2, Braves 1

The Pirates aren’t a good baseball team. They’re 32-53, the second-worst mark in the Senior Circuit and third-worst in baseball. Their run differential of -105 is also second-worst in the NL and third-worst in the majors. They are in fifth place this year, the same place they finished the last two years; they were in fourth place the two years previous, and haven’t finished above fourth since a third-place finish in 2016.

It has been a long time since Andrew McCutchen led the team to three straight Wild Card appearances from 2013-2015.

Of course, the team has not actually finished in first place since 1992.

This, this is the team that has beaten the Braves twice in a row, has silenced the Braves’ bats so thoroughly that the Braves offense has mustered a total of 11 hits and two runs over two pathetic games.

Blame the bullpen all you want. I’m blaming the bats.

46 thoughts on “Pirates 2, Braves 1”

  1. 3 games under .500. Five games out of first. This is not good, but the season is salvageable. Avoiding a sweep will be a good start.

    Fortunately Smyly is pitching tomorrow and the Braves have been winning his starts lately.

  2. This one hurt. Agreed that this was not the fault of the bullpen although Matzek stunk it up. I would have like to have seen Chavez get a shot to replace Matzek with the bases loaded. His chances weren’t good, but Matzek’s chances were zero. Without Arcia we don’t even play the bottom of the 9th.

    Btw, I don’t know if you guys have read it, but Matzek’s spin rate supposedly dropped the 2nd most of anyone in the majors after the foreign substance crackdown. As noted by DOB – “Matzek has issued eight walks in 3 2/3 innings over his past five appearances, after walking 15 in 28 innings during his first 30 appearances.”

  3. It looks now as the best scenario for the Braves is ?4th place For 2021 season. there pitching is A D- at best they aren’t producing any hits that can generate runs . We should all hope for the best.Thats 4th place unless they produce a miracle for This season 2021 . Bill Edwards Palm Coast Tribune Editor. Lauderdale Lakes and Boyton Beach FLORIDA. ⛱ .

  4. @2 I was curious about that. This pretty much explains his loss of control over his pitches. We may never see 2020 Matzek again.

  5. @6

    Bad? I don’t know about that, but Lord, they ain’t good.

    Edit: I think anyone who’s last name doesn’t start with an ‘A’ or a ‘F’ should be on the block.

    That leaves us Acuna, Albies, Arcia, Anderson, Fried, and Freeman. Almonte can be the exception to this rule. Plus, we’ll go with Riley’s first name.

  6. Snit has lost it … 1st he throws Matzek on Mon in a 11-1 BLOWOUT .. then comes back with him on Tue night …and to beat all .. with all his issues still left him in to walk in a run .. just plain stupid .. he has no idea how to manage a bullpen.

  7. If you had to pick one guy to get out of bases loaded, no out situation with 0 runs scoring, your best strikeout guy is the way to go. It was pretty clear Matzek didn’t have it last night, but I don’t know who else was going to get out of that kind of bind.

    If we weren’t carrying so many Gwinnett Drivel relievers, maybe we wouldn’t have had to bring Matzek into a blowout just to get him some work. He only got into one game between June 25th and July 2nd.

  8. I sure am glad we called up Webb. The game may have gone 20 innings and eventually he would have been needed.

  9. I think they might be forcing an outcome with Matzek. I would think he’ll be DFA’ed soon. Anything we know about Matzek — his loss in spin rate since the crackdown, his yips — the team knows about way more. Throwing him in a blowout AND THEN in a 1-1 ballgame tells me they’re looking something with him. Why else would you do that?

  10. I know there are no right answers when choosing between sub-replacement players, but I’m not sure I get the roster construction. I agree with TD; why Webb? Call up Demeritte. He has to be wondering what he’s got to do to earn a shot. He’s been raking just like Almonte and Arcia.

  11. @12 agreed…more marginal at best relievers are not the answer. I asked the question yesterday in regard to why make the short bench even shorter with Panda not available by bringing up Webb? Maybe he is the Matzek replacement and another move (Demeritte?) is coming ?

  12. And here comes Lucroy with Contreras optioned. We still have Kevan Smith though…

  13. fWAR Ranking By Position (Last 60 Days):

    C – 30th
    1B – 9th
    2B – 9th
    3B – 15th
    SS – 20th
    LF – 12th (the bulk of Heredia’s PAs have been in LF)
    CF – 22nd (enough of Heredia’s PAs have saved this unit from being last)
    RF – 5th

    Lucroy may not be the Lucroy of 2017, but he’s better than Contreras has been.

  14. It seems to me as though our offense has suffered from poor cluster luck. In other words, it seems like these bats are more feast-or-famine than usual. Perhaps that’s because we have more crappy hitters seeded through the lineup than usual.

    What I really mean is, our offense seems less smooth than usual — the team is averaging 4.61 runs per game, fifth-best in the league. That’s an average of better than half a run per inning. But I would strongly bet that the Braves have actually gone scoreless in far more than half their innings, and hung crooked numbers in enough of the rest to make up the difference.

    Therefore, the 2021 Braves are even more sensitive than usual to a periodic off-night from one of the only reliable hitters in the lineup.

    Basically, the Braves offense doesn’t have the ability for one guy to pick the other guys up. I’m not quite sure why that is, but I’m betting that the clustering effects have something to do with it. JonathanF, can you save my bacon with some actual facts?

  15. @16

    Billy has been bad, but LuCroy isn’t any better.

    Free Shea Langeliers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I guess with all the other issues I didn’t realize how bad Contreras had been. He’s slashed .182/.234/.323 over his last 30 games. Of course Smith has been even worse. His line is .200/.298/.220 over his last 30 games. Smith did throw out a baserunner last night so you have that.

  17. I think of last night’s game as the Pirates’ revenge for this game https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL198305250.shtml when the Pirates walked 7 straight men in the 4th inning…. still a record.

    Just saw your question, AAR. I’ve thought about this in the past but haven’t run the numbers this season. One clear thing, though: when your offense is home run based, you will tend to score in clusters, which means you also don’t score in clusters.

  18. Take away the 20 and 22 run games than what is the runs per game? I believe in one thing only, win, loss record. Braves three under. A below average team that will remain so.

  19. Apologies because the formatting probably won’t be too good,
    but a quick look at the last three years doesn’t seem to support your hypothesis, AAR.
    While the Braves are slightly more likely to score 0 runs in an inning this year than the last two, they are more likely to score 1 run, and considerably less likely to score 2,4, or 5+ (and the same, oddly enough, to score exactly 3)
    Probabilities of run scoring in an inning, by year

    Runs 2021 2020 2019
    0 0.712 0.692 0.678
    1 0.166 0.136 0.136
    2 0.058 0.090 0.090
    3 0.034 0.034 0.034
    4 0.016 0.025 0.025
    5+ 0.014 0.023 0.023

  20. Smyly getting hit earlier than normal. This usually doesn’t happen until the 5th or 6th inning

  21. I’m gonna go for a walk outside. In the rain. Maybe Braves will score 20 again when I’m not looking. (I missed both blowouts)

  22. When your organizational credo is stasis and ennui, this is what you receive and deserve.

    “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood” Burnham

  23. Maybe the pitchers for other teams weren’t the only ones that used the grip. It seems like we have a few pitchers who seem to be struggling with command all of the sudden

  24. @25 – To paraphrase Woody Boyd, “He’s exaggerating. There were only 9 of ’em.”

  25. That 4.61 runs per game is really misleading. I know the modern game is more prone than ever to blowouts, especially since the white flag is waved way earlier and more frequently than in the past. So maybe other teams have won a ton of blowouts like Atlanta has. But the Braves have scored 8 runs 13 times, including games where they’ve scored 10, 13, and 20 runs (the game Ryan, Brent, and I were at; you’re welcome). By comparison, the Mets have scored 8 runs or more only 6 times.

  26. Sometimes I’m arrogant enough to think Chip is purposely trolling me. That disquisition on leaving the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and a one run lead is almost perfectly calculated to counter my blood pressure medication.

  27. @33: I just assume it’s a euphemism for “didn’t want to face Crick.”

  28. @33, similarly, did anyone ever say what was wrong with Freddie’s back last night? I haven’t heard any mention today, but I haven’t been paying 100% attention.

  29. Just joined for the Shrieve meltdown. Smyly clearly knows how to win. Looking at the box score… 12 baserunners allowed and only 3 runs. Vintage Smyly today!

  30. Cool that Chavez is simultaneously our 1 run behind guy and our 4 run ahead guy.

  31. I would start Drew Smyly in Game 7 of the World Series, rested or not. The guy just knows how to win.

  32. Why not just have him pitch every inning the rest of year? The great thing about that is that you wouldn’t need any other pitchers. Then you can have 16 bench bats.

  33. @39 Think of the sophisticated 4-man platoons for one position that you could have. “Bill starts on Thursdays”

  34. If the Pirates DFA Underwood after this magical afternoon, AA should give him a look – he’d fit right in.

  35. As of the top of the 8th inning, the Braves have now evened the runs scored in the series while losing 2 of 3.

    Now HERE’S a lead Webb can protect……….. maybe.

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