Pittsburgh Pirates Everything Goes Wrong on Opening Day in ST

Opening Day Disaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis

The Pittsburgh Pirates began off with a lot of hope on Thursday. They signed third base prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes to an eight-year, $70 million agreement before the season opener.

The day went downhill once we got to the Hayes extension, unfortunately. The 2022 season opened with a 9-0 loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pittsburgh Pirates Everything Goes Wrong on Opening Day in ST

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ fortunes quickly deteriorated. After the first inning, they found themselves down, 1-0, and they never recovered. There was also a significant scare that occurred.

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The Gloomy Outlook was Established in the First Inning.

The Pirates were unable to get a hit off Cardinal starter Adam Wainwright in the top of the first inning. But then disaster struck for the Pirates in the bottom of the inning.

After Derek Shelton and the training staff checked on Hayes on the field, he was taken out of the game. Due to the sudden panic over Hayes’s health, Pirates’ supporters everywhere held their breath. Reports suggest that Hayes’ injury was only a minor case of cramping, so hopefully this won’t be too much of a setback for him.

In addition to Hayes being removed from the game, the Red Birds scored first in the bottom of the first inning.

Hayes almost made a spectacular catch on a poorly hit fly up by Dylan Carlson, allowing Carlson to reach on a bloop double to shallow left field to start the game. Next, Hoy Park, playing second base, messed up a ground ball that should have resulted in at least one out but may have led to a double play.

Although JT Brubaker’s first inning loss was not entirely attributable to him, he did find himself trailing 1-0 after the first frame.

The Game-Winning Home Run was Hit by Tyler O’Neill.

Brubaker gave up 4 runs on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2 strikeouts in just 3 innings during his first career Opening Day start. Brubaker’s day did not begin as planned, but he came close to avoiding responsibility.

We have already discussed how the first-inning run he allowed was not entirely his fault. Even in the second inning’s bottom half, he came close to getting off the hook.

Brubaker was about to get out of a jam with two outs and two runners on base when Cardinal outfielder Tyler O’Neill hit a home run, scoring three runs, off of a 0-1 fastball from Brubaker. This was the game-changing play that put the Cardinals up by four goals.

If not for O’Neill’s blast, the Pirates might have entered the bottom of the eighth inning with a 1-0 or 2-0 lead. That might have resulted in a different approach to managing the inning, keeping the Pirates in the game until the very end.

Checking in on the Bullpen

After Brubaker left the game, Wil Crowe came in as the first reliever. Crowe, who has always shown more promise as a reliever than as a starter, had a good outing, striking out three Cardinals while walking two and allowing no runs on zero hits in two innings of work.

This was followed by Duane Underwood Jr. Underwood Jr. was forced to leave the game after he gave up a double to start the sixth inning. After letting the inherited runner score, Heath Hembree got out of the sixth inning.

Whatever Underwood Jr.’s injury may be, its prognosis did not look good at the time. It’s possible that the Pirates will need to make a roster adjustment because of the right-hander’s injury.

Chris Stratton threw a scoreless seventh inning before giving way to Aaron Fletcher, a left-handed reliever, in the eighth.

Fletcher gave up a solo home run to Tommy Edman after retiring the first batter of the inning, then hit Carlson in the foot, gave up a single to Paul Goldschmidt, then gave up an RBI on a sacrifice fly by O’Neill. To put the game out of reach, Nolan Arenado hit a 2-run homer against Fletcher after O’Neill had already driven in 5 runs.

The bullpen had a great game aside from Fletcher. With the exception of Fletcher, Pirates relievers went 4 innings, allowing 1 run on 1 hit and striking out 3. For Fletcher, however, this Opening Day is best forgotten.

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Not a Good Day for Kevin Newman.

Kevin Newman has been disadvantaged in numerous ways. Not a single Pirates supporter would be happy with Newman starting at shortstop instead of Oneil Cruz.

While Newman has been one of the worst hitters in baseball over the past two seasons, Cruz is widely considered to be among the game’s best future stars.

Despite Newman’s Thursday afternoon base hit, the mood among Pirates supporters toward him soured by the end of the game. In the second inning, Newman was thrown out while attempting to steal second.

In the third inning, he made an error on a routine ground ball. In the fourth inning, he hit into a double play that ended the game.

The frustration of Pirates’ supporters will only grow if Newman’s difficulties go on for much longer. It will also increase the volume of people demanding that Cruz replace Newman in the majors.