The Pirates of Pittsburgh had such high hopes on Thursday. Third base prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes was signed to an eight-year, $70 million agreement just before the start of the season.
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.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ luck quickly began to turn for the worst. After the first inning, they were behind, and it stayed that way: 1-0. Moreover, there was a significant fright on the road.
Bad A Game’s Mood is Established in the First Inning.
The Pirates were unable to get a hit off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright in the top of the first inning. Then a terrifying situation arose in the bottom of the inning for the Pirates.
Following an on-field examination by Derek Shelton and the team’s medical staff, Hayes was taken out of the game. As soon as news of Hayes’ condition spread, Pirates supporters everywhere held their breath. Hayes apparently only suffered from slight cramps, so maybe this won’t be too much of a setback.
In addition to Hayes being removed from the game, the Red Birds scored first in the bottom of the first inning. To start the game, Dylan Carlson reached on a bloop double to shallow left field on a weakly hit pop up that Hayes almost made into an amazing play. Then, Hoy Park, the second baseman, messed up a ground ball that should have resulted in at least one out but may have resulted in a double play. Pitcher JT Brubaker did not deserve to be in a 1-0 hole after the first inning.
The Game-Winning Home Run was Hit By Tyler O’Neill.
Opening Day starter Brubaker gave up 4 runs on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2 strikeouts in 3 innings. Although this was not the ideal beginning, Brubaker almost managed to free himself.
We’ve already discussed how the first-inning run he allowed wasn’t entirely his fault. Also 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 when Cardinal outfielder Tyler O’Neill hit a home run, scoring three runs, off of a 0-1 pitch from Brubaker. This was the game-changing play that put the Cardinals up by four goals.
In spite of the fact that the Pirates’ season came apart in the bottom of the eighth inning, the score might have been 1-0 or 2-0 going into that inning if not for O’Neill’s homer. It might have resulted in a different approach to managing the inning, which would have kept the Pirates in the game to the very end.
The Bullpen: A Recap
After Brubaker left the game, Wil Crowe came in as the first reliever. Crowe, who has always shown more promise in relief than in the rotation, had a good outing, allowing 0 runs on zero hits while striking out three Cardinals in two innings of work.
Duane Underwood Jr. was up next. Injuring himself after surrendering a double to open the sixth inning, Underwood Jr. had to leave the game. The inherited runner eventually scored, but Heath Hembree was able to escape the inning unscathed.
Underwood Jr.’s injury was not looking good, but the prognosis is still unknown. Injuries are a real possibility for the right-hander, which would force the Pirates to shuffle their roster.
Kevin Newman’s had a Rough Day.
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 base. 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 persist. It will also increase the volume of those who want Cruz called up to replace Newman in the majors.