In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
Old School Verlander
Last night the Pittsburgh Pirates got thrashed by the Detroit Tigers 10-0 as Justin Verlander was absolutely dominant. The former Cy Young winner befuddled the Pirates for eight innings. He allowed no runs on one hit and struck out six. He looked like the Verlander that nearly no-hit the Pirates all the way back in 2011 as he had excellent command and great velocity. Honestly, it’s hard to get too angry about this game. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a great starting pitcher and last night Verlander was incredible.
The Pirates managed more hits off Shane Greene in his one inning of work than they got off Verlander in eight. Baseball is a funny game sometimes. Josh Bell pretty much was the Pirates’ offense as he reached base three times with two hits and a walk. Despite the loss, he was very impressive, given how filthy Verlander was to the rest of the lineup.
I want to take a moment to talk about Josh Bell. I’ve seen some people saying he’s no different than Pedro Alvarez in the sense that he’s an all or nothing type of player. Josh Bell’s OPS currently stands at .803 and he’s on pace to finish with over 50 walks, good for a .330 OBP.
Pedro’s best OPS with the Pirates was .784 and his best OBP was .318. Pedro’s highest walk total with the Pirates was 59 walks in 2012. Pedro most likely has more power than Josh Bell but this is Bell’s first full season as a Big Leaguer. Given he’s on-pace to have over 20 home runs, it’s safe to assume the power should be there. We’re already seeing better plate discipline than Pedro ever showed as a Pirate.
I am also not going to mention Bell’s defense as a first baseman as it’s so far ahead of where Pedro was, it’s barely even funny.
Not So Super
The other big story from last night’s game was another mediocre start from Ivan Nova. Nova looked like an ace for most of his Pirates’ tenure but lately, he’s looked closer to Jeff Locke than a top of the rotation pitcher. Since the All Star Break, Nova has a 6.67ERA and has given up 21 earned runs with seven home runs allowed. I am not going to get too in-depth about Nova’s struggles as our fearless leader, Jason Rollison already did a fantastic job of that. However, it’s certainly concerning that Nova continues to get worse as the season progresses.
If you told someone back in June that Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams would be more reliable than Ivan Nova, no one would believe you. I am confident that Nova will be able to bounce back and return to form. I don’t think he’s going to get back to his absolutely dominant form he showed at the end of last season until June of this year. But he should at least pitch well enough to keep the Pirates in games and be a solid member of what looks like a potentially above-average starting rotation.
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