Welcome to this week’s edition of Pirates Breakdown’s Stock Report! In a week when the Pittsburgh Pirates needed to win the majority of their games to stay relevant in the postseason discussion, the team did the opposite of that and lost five of their six games.
The Pirates had a rough stretch of games last week. They lost the series finale in San Francisco, dropped both games in Minnesota and also lost two of the first three games against Chicago. Even as the losses piled up, the Pirates received some great performances on the mound. But they also had a few players who contributed to the losses last week.
Whose Stock is Rising
Joe Musgrove took the mound twice last week and walked away with a loss on Sunday and a win on Saturday. He tossed six good innings in San Francisco, limiting the Giants to four runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk to go along with six strikeouts. He followed that up with a seven inning performance on Saturday night against the Cubs when he allowed just one run, a solo shot by Ben Zobrist in the third inning.
He did not walk any and tallied seven strikeouts in his fifth win of the season. While the 2018 season might be slipping away, Musgrove certainly looks like a solid middle of the rotation option heading into 2019.
Musgrove’s rotation mate Trevor Williams continued his hot stretch of pitching on Friday when he unfortunately was hit with a loss but still turned in a quality start. He pitched seven strong innings and allowed just four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
This marks just the second time in his last six starts that Williams was scored on and he has allowed just three runs over his last 36 innings. Again, the 2018 season may end up being a bust, but like Musgrove, Williams is showing signs that he could be a major player for the 2019 Pirates.
Whose Stock is Falling
Obviously when a team loses five of their six games, a lot of players must be struggling. But none of the hitters have been struggling like Gregory Polanco has been lately. In his 23 at-bats last week, Polanco collected just three hits and all of those were singles.
While he did drive in two runs in the team’s 6-4 loss to Minnesota on August 15th, he seems to be lost at the plate. He struck out nine times in last week’s games, including a four strikeout performance on August 14th in the first loss to Minnesota last week. Polanco has been a streaky hitter all week and unfortunately for the team, he had a bad stretch when they needed him the most.
It is way too early to claim that that the trade that brought Chris Archer is a success or a bust, but so far Archer has struggled a little bit since donning the black and gold. Last week he he started the first game in Minnesota and gave up four runs in five innings on six hits, so Archer has not registered a quality start since joining the Pirates. He did strike out seven in that game, so he has been able to get guys out like he did when he was with Tampa Bay.
He’ll have a tough matchup in his next start when he kicks off the series against Atlanta on Monday, but it should only be a matter of time before the veteran gets into a groove on the mound.