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Pirates Takeaways: Kevin Newman Stepping Up; Cal Mitchell Evolving



Pittsburgh Pirates

Sweep means “cleaning an area by brushing away dirt or debris.”

In the Pittsburgh Pirates’ case, sweep means four straight losses to the Philadephia Phillies, and Sunday’s score wasn’t even close.

The Pirates fell to the Phillies 8-2 at PNC Park with J.T. Brubaker giving up seven of those runs, and for Pirates fans, it was extremely disappointing to see Brubaker get tagged with so many runs after posting a 2.50 ERA in July prior to Sunday.

“I don’t think he had very good command today,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “A lot of pitches were left in the middle of the zone and when you leave the ball in the middle of the zone against that lineup you’re going to get hit hard.”

Despite the bad start, we can’t let this take away from Brubaker’s strong performance in July. Prior to giving up 12 hits and seven earned runs on Sunday, Brubaker had only given up five earned runs in 18 innings pitched. Sunday’s performance bloated his ERA for the month to 4.84. This is yet another case of a deceiving box score.

I See You, Mr. Newman

Kevin Newman went three for five Sunday afternoon with a double. For all the flack Newman has received during his Pittsburgh Pirates’ tenure, he has shown some promise since returning off the IL on Jul. 8.

“Since (Newman) has come back he’s swung the bat probably better than anyone on the club right now,” said Shelton. “It’s nice to see some confidence there and it’s nice to see the things that he worked on prior to getting hurt are continuing to sustain.”

Newman, since coming in the injured list June 8, has carried a batting average of .315 with seven doubles, one triple, and 15 strikeouts in 73 at-bats. Now we wait and see if Newman stays on the Pirates roster through the trade deadline. If I was a betting man, I’d say he is.

CALibrated & Ready to Swing

Cal Mitchell has shown some impressive skills since getting recalled by the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 15. No series has been more impressive for Mitchell than the one against the Phillies. Mitchell went 6 for 13 with a double and two home runs against tough pitchers.

“I was able to take advantage of the first good pitch I saw most of the time,” said Mitchell.

During his brief stint back in the minors, Mitchell learned and finetuned his skills in order to get that call back up to the majors. One of those skills he mentioned was seeing a pitcher’s best stuff during his first stint and then learning how to counteract that in the minors.

Learning how to move and countermove against opposing pitchers is crucial in a young player’s development, and Mitchell may have started to find his groove.

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