clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pittsburgh Pirates series preview: Wait, who are the Royals playing?

New, comments
MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

At the trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates tore a page out of the 2017 Royals book and went after what they thought was the final piece of the puzzle to push them into the playoffs. Neal Huntington and company sent Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane Baz—all very serious pieces of what could have been the Pirates’ future—for Chris Archer. Archer is under control through the 2021 season and at reasonable prices through the entire run of his contract with two club options at the back end, so the deal wasn’t only for this year, but since they made the move, they have lost five more games than they’ve won, effectively playing themselves out of the playoff picture within two weeks of making the move.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Monday, September 17 — 6:05 PM CDT — Brad Keller versus Joe Musgrove
  • Tuesday, September 18 — 6:05 PM CDT — Eric Skoglund (L) versus Jameson Taillon
  • Wednesday, September 19 — 6:05 PM CDT — Heath Fillmyer versus Chris Archer

Royals at Pirates pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Game 1
Brad Keller 39 127.1 87 16.5 46 8.7 3.04 3.63 4.23 4.50 2.1 3.3
Joe Musgrove 18 109.1 96 21.0 23 5.0 3.87 3.65 3.90 3.91 2.0 1.3
Game 2
Eric Skoglund (L) 11 56.2 43 17.7 17 7.0 6.19 5.32 4.64 4.54 -0.1 -0.5
Jameson Taillon 29 171.0 156 22.0 42 5.9 3.37 3.54 3.66 3.84 3.1 3.9
Game 3
Heath Fillmyer 15 68.0 43 14.8 30 10.3 4.76 5.02 4.88 5.14 0.2 0.2
Chris Archer 25 135.2 145 24.6 46 7.8 4.66 3.87 3.69 3.82 2.0 0.4

After getting Joe Musgrove from Houston in the deal that sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros, the Pirates had to wait until the final week of May before he was able to make his first start of the season. Though limited due to health, he’s been about as good as the Pirates could have hoped, allowing virtually no walks while maintaining a 4.17 K/BB en route to a shortened season that’s still been worth two wins in roughly half a season’s worth of innings.

Jameson Taillon has improved on a solid sophomore campaign last year, posting a better ERA, xFIP, SIERA, BB%, K%, and LOB% than he did in his 2.9 fWAR run last year. He’s enjoyed increased success thanks to the introduction of a slider to his repertoire, a pitch that has been his most valuable pitch by usage this season.

Chris Archer seems destined to be less than the sum of his parts. His slider has become just a slightly above-average pitch this season after being a beast for the past three years. Since coming over in a deadline deal from Putin’s club in St. Petersburg, Archer—who seems like a great dude—has unfortunately been roughly replacement level, this all happening while the Pirates’ playoff aspirations slipped away.

Pittsburgh Pirates position players

Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Francisco Cervelli C 379 11 36 53 2 .258 .381 .426 .355 124 3.1 2.4
Starling Marte CF 550 19 75 66 32 .272 .317 .450 .328 106 3.0 3.0
Elias Díaz C 255 9 31 30 0 .286 .337 .453 .339 114 2.0 1.7
Corey Dickerson (L) LF 490 11 58 49 8 .289 .320 .449 .327 106 1.8 2.7
Adam Frazier (L) 2B/OF 307 8 45 30 1 .282 .346 .451 .344 117 1.6 2.2
Jordy Mercer SS 423 6 43 37 2 .252 .318 .383 .298 87 0.9 -0.1
Josh Bell (S) 1B 523 10 69 58 1 .263 .354 .412 .334 110 0.8 0.5
Colin Moran (L) 3B 431 9 45 52 0 .278 .336 .396 .317 99 0.5 0.7
Jordan Luplow RF/LF 75 3 15 7 2 .227 .320 .439 .328 107 0.5 0.4
Josh Harrison 2B 359 8 40 35 3 .255 .297 .370 .289 80 0.4 0.4
Pablo Reyes IF/OF 19 1 3 2 0 .375 .474 .625 .466 199 0.3 0.3
Ryan Lavarnway C 1 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 1.247 719 0.1 0.1
Kevin Kramer (L) 2B/3B 15 0 2 2 0 .214 .267 .214 .222 36 -0.1 -0.1
Jacob Stallings C 26 0 1 4 0 .208 .231 .208 .196 18 -0.2 -0.2
Kevin Newman SS 54 0 4 2 0 .180 .241 .220 .203 23 -0.4 -0.4
José Osuna 3B/1B 82 2 7 9 0 .203 .220 .342 .239 47 -0.5 -0.2

Thanks in large part to their defense which ranks eighth in baseball per the defensive component of fWAR, the Pittsburgh Pirates position players have collected 16.7 fWAR, good for the 15th best mark in the majors. Offensively, they’ve slashed .253/.317/.406 with a .312 wOBA and 95 wRC+. Oddly, the Pirates have a -6.1 UZR on the season, though that somehow breaks down to 1.1 UZR/150. Per DRS, the Pirates have been the 24th-best defense.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Pittsburgh?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Royals sweep
    (9 votes)
  • 34%
    Royals take two of three
    (68 votes)
  • 42%
    Pirates take two of three
    (85 votes)
  • 18%
    Pirates sweep
    (37 votes)
199 votes total Vote Now