I don’t think anyone would have blamed Luis Ortiz for taking Manny Banuelos around the corner in the dugout and giving him a good punch after the fifth inning. Or most of the Pirates’ battery for that matter.
Ortiz pitched fantastically well for the first four innings. Of course he was on a pitch count, so when he walked Zach Mckinstry that was it for him. In came Manny Banuelos, which prompted this Tweet on my part:
Don't you start, Manny. Don't you start.— Bucs Dugout (@BucsDugout) September 25, 2022
But of course he did, walking Esteban Quiroz, then handing a homer to Patrick Wisdom, not only breaking the shutout but making Ortiz the official loser.
And it didn’t help that the Pirates’ bats didn’t keep the momentum from last night. wasting some extra-base hits. Bryan Reynolds did do this in the sixth inning:
No. 26 for Reynolds! pic.twitter.com/lAKwzdl3rU— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 25, 2022
Then there was the ninth inning rally of sorts, where the Cubs may or may not have taken pity on the Bucs or just stopped caring. I suspect it might have been the latter, judging from the number of times I saw the words “defensive indifference” on MLB.com’s feed. It started with Bee-Rey getting hit by a pitch, Oneil Cruz advancing him to third on a single, and Rodolfo Castro sac-flying him home. Ke’Bryan Hayes singled, and Cruz got to third on an error by Wisdom, then Jack Suwinski sac-flew Cuz home. That was it for Pirates’ offense—too little, too late.
For the optimists among us, this game was a reminder that the Pirates are very much a work in progress. For the pessimists, it was business as usual.