Welcome to Pittsburgh Pirates Highs and Lows. Every Monday, I am going to look back on the week that was for the Pirates and give you my best and worst moment.
The baseball season is a daily onslaught. Good, bad, or neutral, you have to play nearly every single day. When the team is playing well, games can’t happen enough. When the team is in a full on tailspin, you wish baseball had a football-like schedule.
The Pittsburgh Pirates not simply not a very good team right now. To be frank, they likely won’t be a good team for the rest of the season. Don’t get me wrong, they will have good stretches again and may even flirt with the .500 mark but they are simply stuck in baseball purgatory.
The most recent week of play for the Pirates could have gotten them back to contention but instead it sank them into the abyss. The Brewers and Diamondbacks, two legitimate contenders took care of the Pirates with relative ease. The Pirates never really looked like they had a chance in either series. Arizona especially flattened the Pirates with a four-game sweep in PNC Park.
Weeks like this one make it very difficult to truly see the highs and make it even more difficult to look past the lows. The team is bad right now and it’s hard to be optimistic about a team that is so fundamentally flawed. However, that’s exactly what I am going to attempt to do.
The Pirates began this week with an absolutely outstanding victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates bearded, podcasting pitcher, Trevor Williams threw a gem as he went seven innings, allowed zero runs, and struck out seven. He completely dominated a very good Brewers lineup and helped lead the Pirates to a much-needed victory.
Trevor Williams may never be a Cy Young Award winner or the ace of the rotation, however, when he is on his game, he may be the most fun starter on the Pirates. No one changes location and speeds better than Williams and it’s my favorite style of pitching to watch.
It has been said that good pitching beats good hitting and Williams proved that in his start against Milwaukee. The Brewers are an excellent offensive team but against Williams, they looked like amateurs going up against a professional. It was truly marvelous to watch and it looked like the Pirates had a chance to start their week on a good note. The Pirates weren’t able to capitalize on the good start as the Williams start proved to be the week’s only legitimate high point. Baseball is a game of peaks and valleys and the Pirates are stuck in the longest valley in the world right now. However, despite that, you need to acknowledge when someone goes above and beyond. Trevor Williams did exactly that and it was very fun to watch.
The Pirates won only once this week, so there are plenty of lows to go around. Normally, I pick a single moment from a loss as my Low of the Week, however, today I am going a different route. My low this week is the constant starting of Sean Rodriguez.
Sean Rodriguez is a great man and does not deserve to be hated for his poor play. The effort and desire are clearly there and it isn’t his fault his name is written on the lineup card. However, it’s time to move on from Rodriguez and bring up literally anybody from Triple-A. Rodriguez’s calling card used to be his stellar defensive flexibility but even that has left him. I don’t even need to mention his horrendous offensive output in the month of June. Rodriguez has ONE hit during the month. I repeat, Sean Rodriguez, a Major League veteran has ONE HIT in the month of June. It isn’t because of lack of chances either. Rodriguez has a full starter’s allotment of at-bats during this month but he has failed time and time again.
Last offseason’s accident may be the primary cause of Rodriguez’s awful play and if that’s the case, I truly sympathize with him. The team is still trying to win baseball games and he is hurting their chances. Clint Hurdle needs to do him a favor and take him out of the lineup. Rodriguez is a competitor and will go out there every chance he gets. Sometimes you have to save a player form themselves.
I will never forget Sean Rodriguez’s contributions to the 98-win season of 2015. He was an excellent part-time player on that club and did just enough with the bat to be valuable. That version of Sean Rodriguez is gone and I don’t think he is walking through the door any time soon.
No player wants their career to end by being Designated for Assignment but that’s usually how things end for a bulk of Major League players. Sean Rodriguez has meant a lot to the Pirates and is a truly good man but good men don’t win baseball games, good players do.