A week ago the Pirates were scoring runs in bunches, even if they couldn’t prevent them. After losing the first two games 6-1 and 4-1, Pittsburgh finished being swept at the hands of Chicago 17-3 as the home team scored early and often.
Ivan Nova threw over 30 pitches in the first and didn’t get any better after that, surrendering five runs in three innings of work. Steven Brault coughed up four runs, A.J. three, including a homer, and rookie Angel Sanchez continued his streak of at least one homer allowed in every appearance in the major leagues with two more.
The big story is that despite being ten or more games out and floundering on the eve of September 1, thirty-something year old veterans Sean Rodriguez and Chris Stewart, each with batting averages below the Mendoza line, are each night being written into the starting lineup while Elias Diaz and Jordan Luplow, unproven rookies but with higher ceilings, sit on the bench to await an inning or two of white flag duty.
Placing Juan Nicasio, a quality reliever, on irrevocable waivers, was a signal by management that they knew the fat lady had sung for 2017. Can they please go one step further and start preparing for 2018?