Pittsburgh Pirates: Pitching Struggles, Walks 13 Batters, Still End Up With Win Over Padres

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

 It was one of the ugliest, displeasing, games you will ever watch, but the Pittsburgh Pirates ended up with the victory in game two of their four game set against the San Diego Padres.

To be honest, there had to be some doubt in whether or not this game would be finished by midnight, even with the 6:35 P.M. start. The first inning took a hour to finish, and it never really sped up at a pace that was  enjoyable.

A win is a win though, right?

For a lack of a better word, the Pirates survived despite the pitching staff almost handing the Padres back the game - sometimes without the road team even lifting the bat off of their shoulders.

Pittsburgh walked 13 batters Tuesday night, and allowed three more to reach base by way of hitting them.

Starter Chad Kuhl walked seven batters in just 3 2/3 innings. He threw 92 pitches in that span, only 45 of which were for strikes.

In a game where the offense actually chased 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell before the first inning was even over, this probably should have been a cake walk for the Pirates. The Padres themselves didn't have the cleanest of games, committing two errors, walking four batters of their own and hitting another four Pirates hitters as well.

but in the end, no matter how ugly, the Pirates erased a first inning deficit, and came up with enough timely hitting to pull away to secure their third victory in four contest.

Jacob Stallings went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in. He and Erik Gonzalez hit back-to-back doubles in the first inning. Padres starter Snell threw 38 pitches before getting pulled from the game, recording just two outs.

Some observations from the Pirates victory.

Let's talk a little bit more about Kuhl. It's an awesome story, coming back from Tommy John Surgery, reinventing himself as a pitcher before eventually getting the Opening Day nod this season.

The fact of the matter is he has walked 15 batters in 10 2/3 innings pitched. Due to the high walk totals, he has more earned runs allowed (eight) than hits allowed (seven). Hitters are actually only hitting .206 against him, which isn't bad - but the 15 walks taking away from any good he is doing.

The Pirates chased one of the best pitchers in the game, in the first inning, but still had to scramble and use  six relievers to close this one out. It's a good thing they have a nine person bullpen. All nine of them are going to have their durability tested.

It took the Pirates 190 pitches to close out this game. Only 99 of those 190 went for strikes (52%). 

Richard Rodriguez had another perfect outing, and has allowed just a hit and a walk in 4 1/3 innings this season. He has one save, but has finished four games. For how good he has been, I'm almost ready to make that argument Sam Howard is the best reliever in that bullpen.

I'll say it until it happens or he proves me wrong, but even on a rebuilding team with no stake in 2021, Anthony Alford doesn't belong in the lineup - at least right now. 

He got two games off while Dustin Fowler starter before getting into the game against the lefty Snell but it was more of the same for Alford. The outfielder now sits at 0-for-19 with 15 strikeouts on the season after whiffing three more times. He was given opportunities to break out of the slump in ceremonial fashion - but left seven runners on base instead.

It was an unfortunate set back for Wilmer Difo in a game that he could have potentially thrown his name in the hat to steal some of the time in center field from Alford and Fowler. After coming up with some big hits over the last couple of days, Difo went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. 

For a team that has been striking out a lot, today was a step in the right direction if you factor in seven of the eight punch outs were from either Difo or Alford.

Tyler Anderson may not be the best pitcher on the staff, but he seems like the safest bet to go at least five innings. After Tuesday night the bullpen needs that.

What did you think of the game? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site with the link at the top, and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.

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