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Pirates Takeaways: ‘I Don’t Think too Many People in Here are Happy’



Edward Olivares, Pittsburgh Pirates

OAKLAND — The 1993 film “Groundhog Day” is a classic, so it’s probably safe to assume that many Pittsburgh Pirates fans are also fans of that film.

The main character, Bill Murray, is a Pittsburgh-based newscaster, which is an added bonus.

Pirates fans can watch Groundhog Day whenever they want but they haven’t seen their offense score more than five two runs over nine innings in almost a week.

After Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the A’s in Oakland, the Pirates are 1-3 on this Bay Area road trip that started over the weekend in San Francisco.

In each of the three losses, the Pirates scored two runs twice and once in the other one. The whole plot of “Groundhog Day” revolved around the same thing happening over and over again, and that’s where things are at with the Pirates offense right now.

Pirates fans may enjoy Bill Murray but they’re not enjoying this stretch, nor is the locker room.

“This is frustrating,” Connor Joe said after the game. “I don’t think too many people in here are happy.”


Overall, the offense was better in the middle game of the Oakland series than it was in the opener.

The Pirates scored twice as many runs as they did in Monday’s 5-1 loss and had more than double the hits, but none of those hits came after the fifth inning.

In the fifth, the game was tied at two. Afterward, the A’s scored three runs, which were plenty.

“I thought that we had better swings tonight than we had been having the past couple of days,” manager Derek Shelton told reporters after the game. “We’re still not finding that big hit, we’re not finding that two-out hit that the A’s got tonight, and we just have to keep going.”

Oakland got a big two-out hit in the second, when Tyler Nevin drove home Abraham Toro to make it 2-1.

Joe was the only Pirate to have a good night offensively, going 2-4 with a homer.

Nobody else had more than one hit, and Joe knows that isn’t good enough.

“When it’s the majority of the order and we’re all scuffling,” Joe said, “it makes it tough to win ball games, and that’s kind of what we’re all going through right now.”


Mitch Keller didn’t pitch like the guy who was a Cy Young candidate for several months last season, but he was hardly the problem Tuesday night.

Keller struggled in the second inning, giving up a pair of runs, but settled down the rest of the way, allowing just one hit and one run over the last three innings, striking out four.

Shelton was asked after the game if he felt Keller needed to do more given his status as the team’s No. 1 starter and the current offensive struggles.

“No, I don’t think that at all,” Shelton said. “I mean, he kept us in the game. This didn’t have anything to do with our pitching. We have to create more run-scoring opportunities.”

Keller, who departed after five, ending with three earned runs on five hits, two walks, seven strikeouts and a home run, felt he got stronger as the game wore on.

“I felt way more in a grove and pitches seemed a lot better,” he said. “Just filling up the zone, getting after them. I think when I do that, my stuff’s a lot better than when I’m in a slower tempo or just trying too hard to throw strikes.”


The Pirates are now 14-17, ending April with 15 losses in their last 20 games.

With the starting pitching being strong for the most part, many feel that once the runs come, so will the wins.

So how long until that happens?

“I wouldn’t say we’re too far off,” Joe said. “You look back at the series in Miami and Washington, we’re doing the same things. We don’t need to do a complete 180. We don’t need to go searching for anything crazy.

“Things aren’t falling for us when we need them to fall for us right now. That’s what’s making for a long couple weeks here.”

It would be crazy for the Pirates not to be disheartened but Joe knows the team can’t benefit from letting anger take over.

“I don’t think, like, emotions of frustration are beneficial, especially in a game like baseball,” Joe said. “We’re not playing a physical game like football where, you know, you get mad and just go out and hit someone harder. It’s not like that.

“So, at the end of the day, we have to make sure we’re prepared for each series, make sure we know the scouting reports. Prepare our tails off, build confidence from that preparation and go into the games loose, not pressing, right? That’s what’s going to win us baseball games.”

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