In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
Last night’s game did not go according to plan for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nick Kingham struggled once again and the team never really got going as they lost to the Chicago Cubs 9-2. During the course of a long season, there are going to be games like last night. It’s hard to even be that frustrated by it because it seemed like a loss from the start.
The moment the Pirates traded for Chris Archer, it was obvious Nick Kingham was on borrowed time and he pitched like it. The rookie never looked comfortable and struggled with his command. The Cubs hit him early and often during a 50 pitch first inning. Nick Kingham has the potential to become a very good Major League pitcher, unfortunately it is not his time yet. He will end up back in Triple-A, which could be good for him. Judging by his last two starts, he still has some things to work on and improve.
The other least valuable player from last night’s defeat was, once again, Sean Rodriguez. Since his home run in Cincinnati, Rodriguez is 1-18 with 10 strikeouts. I was hopeful that the Reds series would be the catalyst needed for Sean Rodriguez to return to form, but unfortunately it appears to be a high point of a very poor season for the utility player. It’s one thing when a player is making contact but recording outs, it’s another when you’re consistently swinging and missing.
I know statistically speaking, there isn’t much difference between a strikeout and a fly or ground out, but you don’t even give yourself a fighting chance with strikeouts. I have a lot of sympathy for Sean Rodriguez, because I know he wants to play well. He cannot be happy with his on-field performance. It’s always important to remember that players care more than anyone else. They may not show it on their faces, but they’re the ones putting in the work and they take a great deal of pride in playing well.
I am not in the business of telling paying customers how to cheer or boo, but it was tough to hear the “DFA” chants directed at Sean Rodriguez last night. The frustration is understandable as Rodriguez has consistently played poorly and has easily been the weakest link on the offense. However, he is still a person and I can’t imagine hearing those chants felt good. Sean Rodriguez has had a very solid Big League career, but I would wager the sun is about to set for him. If or when the day comes that Sean Rodriguez takes his last swing, I will applaud him. He survived a brutal car accident and managed to play again. That is something he will forever deserve a ton of credit for.
The Pirates will enjoy an off-day before Chris Archer makes his Pirates’ debut on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals. PNC Park has lacked the passion of previous years due to fan apathy and I can’t wait to see the stadium packed and full of excitement. The entire mood of the fan base changed on July 31st. The biggest criticism of Pirates management was they weren’t fully committed to winning. A couple good trades won’t completely undo the ill will of a percentage of the fan base, but I would wager it’s a start.
Chris Archer may get most of the headlines, but it’s also important to remember that the Pirates are in a pennant race. Any time the St. Louis Cardinals come to town, it’s a big series. I look forward to seeing PNC Park filled with people there to watch Archer’s debut and cheer on the Pirates as they attempt to make their return to the MLB Postseason. Should be a damn fun weekend!