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Pirates Takeaways: This Defense Has Some Gold Glove Candidates

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Pittsburgh- Wil Crowe, Heath Hembree, and David Bednar were just what the doctor ordered for the Pirates in Sunday afternoon’s 5-3 win against the Nationals. The defense is what spoke volumes and is the reason the Pirates were able to pull away with the victory. 

In the second inning, Jose Quintana was on the ropes, had just given up four straight singles, and the command seemed off. Suddenly, it’s a 3-0 deficit, and you have the top of the order back up for the Nationals. 

Michael Chavis made a tremendous diving catch at third base to rob Cesar Hernandez and save at least one run from scoring. Quintana then followed it up with a strikeout of Juan Soto. 

The Nationals threatened again at the top of the seventh with Josh Bell on base; Hembree came in relief to face Maikol Franco with two outs. Franco drills a ball into the left-field corner, Ben Gamel throws to the cutoff man in Diego Castillo, and Castillo drills Bell down at the plate, keeping it a 3-2 Nationals lead.

Castillo is Just a Baller

On several occasions, Castillo has shown that he can hit the ball, field balls, throw balls, you name it. This is not to say he’s the next big thing, but Castillo has shown he can do the little things right. 

He beat out what should’ve been a double play in the bottom of the sixth inning, he was in the right spot as the cutoff man, and he’s humble about it too!

“I’m proud that [Derek Shelton] has given me the opportunity to play at [short stop] and I know that I can play there. I’ve been learning a lot from [Kevin Newman] and where ever they have me play I’m going to give my best,” Castillo’s remarks after Sunday’s game.

The Defense is Incredible

“Big” Ben Gamel has been playing gold glove caliber defense in the outfield; Ke’Bryan is Ke’Bryan, and Newman is continuing to play solid defense at shortstop. 

It’s not just the highlight plays that I’m noticing anymore; you can clearly see that outfielders are properly backing up their mates, cutoffs are in the right sports, people are blocking balls, and the receiving has been magnificent.

Take the Gamel throw to Castillo to nail Bell at home. Gamel took a smart path to the baseball, cut it off, and threw a dart to Castillo. When you’re teaching kids how to play defense, you should show them that entire sequence. 

Michael Chavis = Stud

Prior to Sunday’s game, Michael Chavis has been on fire with the Pirates. Since being acquired by the Pirates on July 30th of, 2021, Chavis has been batting .389, with four doubles, a triple, two home runs, and an OPS of 1.022. 

Chavis may not be the long-term solution, but his versatility offers something much more meaningful than your run-of-the-mill bench option. Here is Chavis on what being versatile in the field means to him. Are

“It’s significant for me because I had to work for it. I was always talented at hitting, but I never fielded a ground ball until I got to pro ball. Once I got to pro ball, it was something I had to work on to be good at, so if I make a good catch or play defensively, it’s something that I’m truly proud of.     

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