Pittsburgh Pirates: Offense Squanders Strong Outing By Wil Crowe Against Giants

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates opened up their four-game, weekend series against the San Francisco Giants with a 3-1 loss.

Pittsburgh got a strong start from Wil Crowe, but a tough fifth inning in which all three runs were scored were too much for the Pirates to overcome. 

Will Craig, the Pirates first round pick in 2016 who was called up Thursday after Phillip Evans landed on the injured list, hit his first career home run, but the offense was quiet for the rest of the night.

The Pirates only managed five hits on the night, most of which came later in the game when the result seemed mostly in hand. Craig's home run allowed the tying run to come to the plate on multiple occasions late in the game, but Pittsburgh was unable to capitalize.

Anthony DeSclafani pitched five innings of one hit, one walk baseball before being pinch hit for in the top of the sixth inning. The move didn't come back to cost the Giants, as the bullpen was able to finish off the final four inning to secure the victory.

Wil Crowe's Strong Outing

Acquired in the Josh Bell trade, Crowe was tabbed with the loss in the game but he was without a doubt the best player for the Pirates Thursday night.

In five innings pitched, the righty allowed six hits and three runs while striking out five batters and walking one. Crowe pitched a shutout the first four innings of the game until Steven Duggar hit a home run. From that point forward things fell apart for the Pirates. 

A throwing error by Jacob Stallings on a pickoff throw to third that ended up in the outfield allowed the second run to score and another runner to advance to second. A triple by Mike Yastrezemski plated the third run of the game, putting the game out of reach for the Pirates.

The 26 year old Crowe threw 94 pitches across his five innings of work, 62 of which went for strikes. While struggling with his control at the beginning of the season, he has just one walk in each of his last two starts.

Pitch

Strike %

Swing and Miss %

Opponent’s Average

Fastball/Sinker

73.5%

3.7% (2)

.230

Slider/Curve

52%

4.3% (1)

.400

Changeup

61%

16% (3)

.333

Total

65%

6.3% (6)

.285


Crowe used his fastball/sinker 56.3% of the time on Thursday, mixing in his slider and curveball in early eventually working in his changeup that became his go-to pitch. He generated three of his six swing and misses with the changeup, and all though he didn't get any strikeouts with it, he used it to set up one with a fastball.

Although he is mainly a fastball/changeup guy, Crowe was able to mix in his breaking pitches for strikes to keep batters guessing. 

It will be interesting to see what the Pirates do with Crowe when the rotation gets healthy again. In just four starts he's pitched better than two-fifths of the regular rotation. At this point it's hard to argue taking him out of the rotation or send him back to Triple-A.

The Pirates have struggled to get their starters to go deep into games at times, and Crowe has three straight games of going at least five innings. He hasn't just been eating innings too, he's been fairly efficient as well.

Craig Hits First Home Run

This had to be a bitter-sweet moment all around, as in an ideal scenario this is probably a less celebrated home run for Craig. Drafted in the first-round of the 2016 draft for his power potential, this certainly isn't the way Craig, and the Pirates, hoped things had turned out.


Although there has always been some swing and miss to his game, Craig was never able to make the adjustments needed to become a regular at the major league level. He's still just 26, so never say never in carving out a major league role of some sorts, just not likely the one they expected for him after drafting him in the first round.

The former Wake Forest product made his major league debut last season, getting four at bats across two games played in 2020. The home run was also his first hit of his career, as he went hitless in those four at-bats last year.

He was designated for assignment last year and later resigned as a minor league free agent going into this season. Once Evans and Colin Moran return from injury, you would have to think he would be a DFA target at that point.

Series Wrap-up

After being called up on Thursday along with Craig, it appears Miguel Yajure will be making his second start for the season for the Pirates on Friday. With Tyler Anderson and Mitch Keller being pushed back to Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

What did you think of Crowe's performance on Thursday? Has he earned a permanent spot in the rotation for now? Or should he go back to Indianapolis when the rotation is fully healthy? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link at top and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.

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