During what would become a 4-3 Pirates loss to the White Sox this afternoon at PNC Park, those eternal optimists Greg Brown and Bob Walk bandied about that the Bucs had acquitted themselves quite well against two American League Central teams with winning records.
That’s a pleasant announcer’s way of saying, “well, we didn’t get our butts totally handed to us these last few days.”
To be honest, the Pirates have been showing signs of improvement, although the starting rotation still has a propensity to give up the long ball, most of the lineup still isn’t hitting, and Derek Shelton continues to baffle Bucs fans with his pitching switches. Chase De Jong gave up a dinger to Leury Garcia in the top of the second, then had Luis Gonzalez and Tim Anderson double, the latter getting Gonzalez home and the White Sox a 2-0 lead. White Sox starter Dylan Cease ceased to remember how to field after a Michael Perez single in the bottom of the third inning, bobbling a soft De Jong bounce and overthrowing first base. With two on, Adam Frazier grounded out enough to get Perez home. On the live Tweet, I exhorted Ke’Bryan Hayes to be a hero.
Hayes singled De Jong home and stole second. With Bryan Reynolds also singling, hope came alive ... only to be dashed by a Colin Moran pop-up and a Gregory
Plinko Polanco groundout.
In the fifth, Anderson and Jake Lamb singled off De Jong, bracketing two strikeouts. Chase Shreve was warming up, but De Jong was left in. As has been prone to happening as of late, he promptly gave up a double to Yasmani Grandal that scored Anderson and Lamb, and the damage was done.
Knowing when to take a pitcher out is a delicate art. Shelton is still new to this at the major league level, and it’s been my observation that if he leaves someone in too long one day, he’ll yank them too early the next. I know he’s trying to get mileage out of the starters, but when the battery isn’t giving run insurance ... well, loss happens.
Substitute your own word for “loss.”