Pirates 7, Tigers 4: Olson struggled and the offense squandered some good chances

Bless You Boys

Reese Olson just didn’t have it on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Repeatedly wasting pitches and falling behind, the Pirates took advantage of a bunch of soft hits to pile up the runs, while the Tigers squandered too many chances to score again.

The Tigers did jump out to an early lead in this one, but they also ran themselves out of a bigger inning, perhaps. Parker Meadows saw nothing but fastballs to lead off the game and drew a walk, He then stole second base as Riley Greene was frozen on a sinker down the middle at the bottom of the zone for strike three. Not sure what he was looking for if not that. Spencer Torkelson walked to move Meadows to second where he’d score on a line drive single to left off the bat of Colt Keith. Unfortunately, Brian Reynolds bobbled it, and Torkelson was cut down trying to go first and third to smother the rally.

Reese Olson had a quick first with two punchouts, and then Mitch Keller settled in and carved up the Tigers to strike out the side in the top of the second. And then things got started to go sideways.

Olson walked the leadoff hitter, Jack Suwinski, and Andrew McCutchen lined one into center field for a single. Rowdy Tellez hit a grounder to Torkelson, who forced McCutchen at second, but the double play couldn’t be converted. That became a problem when Connor Joe and Jared Triolo reached on a pair of seeing eye swinging bunts.

That made it 1-1 with the bases still loaded. Chris Fetter came out to give Olson a breather as this was turning into a long inning. It got longer. Joey Bart smacked a hard ground ball up the middle that hit second base. Colt Keith had no shot on the ricochet, and the ball bounced into center field, scoring two runs. Olson then tried to pick off Triolo and threw it into center field. Fortunately, he bounced back to strike out Oneil Cruz with some good changeups. Reynolds flew out to end a very long inning. 3-1 Pirates.

In the top of the third, Jake Rogers got a hanging breaking ball and flipped it into right field for a single. Parker Meadows made a bid to right field, but the deep fly ball dropped into Joe’s glove just shy of the wall. Riley Greene put together a good AB and drew a walk, but once again the Tigers poor approach kept them from cashing in. Torkelson took a sinker down and in for strike one. He then whiffed on one down out of the zone, and after two balls, whiffed on a sweeper that got away from Keller and was above the zone. Kerry Carpenter grounded into a force out, and it was the Pirates turn again.

Olson and Rogers continued to live away to a predictable degree, and the Pirates just kept taking what was given and stroking the ball back to center field for hits. Suwinski knocked a one-out single to center, and after McCutchen, the wheels got a little shaky for Olson as he hit Tellez trying to crowd him with a curveball, then walked Joe. And again, a hard grounder up the middle was just out of the reach of both Báez and Keith as it trundled over second base and into center field. Suwinski and Tellez scored to make it 5-1. Bart grounded out to end the inning.

The Tigers tried to fight back in the fourth. Matt Vierling drilled a line drive single to center field with one out, and Javy Báez jumped on a fastball and hit a hard grounder into left field for a single, Vierling taking third.

This was where the Tigers needed the big hit, and Zach McKinstry squared up a hard fly ball, but right to Suwinski in center. Vierling tagged and scored, but the big inning didn’t materialize as Rogers flew out to center field.

Olson got through the bottom of the fourth without much trouble despite playing with fire by walking Oneil Cruz to lead off the frame. Spencer Torkelson pulled a double to left with two outs in the fifth, but Keller carved up Carpenter to strand him.

Olson was still out there in the fifth, but it got scary. He fell behind to McCutchen, who eventually sprayed a double to right field when Olson had to throw a fastball for a strike, and Tellez took advantage of Olson’s command issues to get a grooved 2-1 fastball of his own and ripped a single to left. Triolo grounded out, but that was the end of a rough outing for Reese Olson.

Olson finished with 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 3 K. Pitching from behind is no way to live, Reese.

Tyler Holton took over and uncharacteristically walked Joey Bart. Fortunately, Cruz grounded into a 6-3 double play and Holton escaped the inning unscathed.

Still, the Tigers gave no sign of a comeback in the sixth. They went in order, and Brian Reynolds greeted Holton with a solo shot off a Holton sinker on the inner edge. 7-2 Pirates.

Holton has been just a bit home run prone this spring, including spring training. That will bear some watching as he tries to build on his outstanding 2023 campaign for the Tigers.

Ke’Bryan Hayes grounded out, but when Suwinski singled to right, that was it for Holton with McCutcheon at the dish and one out. Will Vest took over instead, and got another double play ball for the Tigers to end the inning.

Lefty Josh Fleming came on in the top of the seventh for Pittsburgh, and so it was substitution time for A.J. Hinch. Wenceel Perez got his first major league AB hitting for McKinstry. He lifted a solid fly ball to right, but it went right to Joe. Rogers grounded out, and Gio Urshela, hitting for Parker Meadows, grounded out as well.

Perez took over in center field, and Urshela at third base in the bottom of the seventh. Joey Wentz gave up a pair of hart hit balls, but they went right to the Tigers’ corner outfielders, and Wentz had a quick, clean inning of work.

Finally, in the eighth, the Tigers mustered a bit of a rally.

Cruz whiffed on a Riley Greene ground ball. Torkelson stayed in lazy fly ball mode, but Mark Canha pinch-hit for Carpenter and drew a walk. And finally the seeing eye hits went the Tigers’ way. Colt Keith beat out a soft single to first base to load the bases. Then a swinging bunt from Vierling toward third was too soft to get an out against, and Greene scored to make it 7-3.

With the bases still juiced and one out, things were looking up momentarily. Then Derek Shelton called in the eclipse that is Aroldis Chapman for a five out save. Báez struck out, and Perez missed a heater down the middle for strike zone, and eventually took a 101 mph heater on the outer corner down that was just filthy. And the Tigers were turned away…again.

Wentz dug himself a two-out hole in the bottom half by giving up a single to Reynolds and then hitting Hayes. He got Suwinski swinging on a perfect cutter down and away, and it was on to the ninth. Unfortunately, at that point no one had much faith in a comeback.

Shelton wasn’t too worried, turning to Ryder Ryan to replace Chapman and close the one out. Rogers grounded out, while Urshela slapped a single back through the box, and that got the Tigers back to the heart of the order.

Riley Greene made a bid, driving a sinker the opposite way into the corner. It was nearly a home run robbery, as Suwinski, now playing left field with Michael A. Taylor in the game, leaped above the wall and appeared to haul it in. However, he crashed hard into the wall and the ball rattled loose. Urshela scored, and Greene took the stand up double. They had Torkelson, Canha, and Keith lined up with a chance to stun the Pirates.

But they did not stun the Pirates. Ryan fell behind Torkelson 3-0, then fired a strike down and in that once again was the best pitch Torkelson would see to drive to the pull field. Instead, he took it, swung at one a little lower but over the middle of the plate and fouled that off, then whiffed wildly at a slider in the dirt. Canha grounded out to shortstop and that was the ballgame.

The Tigers fall to 6-4 on the young season. The did muster nine hits and four walks in this one, which is somewhat encouraging. But the approach with runners on was still pretty poor. They will try to split the series with Casey Mize on the mound taking on lefty Martin Perez at 12:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Articles You May Like

Keider Montero to make his MLB debut in Wednesday’s doubleheader, per report
Blue Jays vs. Tigers Game Highlights (5/26/24) | MLB Highlights
Tigers 6, Blue Jays 2: The Keith and Carp Show
Tigers Notes: Maeda, Manning, Hopkins, Garko
Double header draw: Tigers call it a draw with the Pirates as they split the series 1-1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *