It has certainly been a much more entertaining week. The Pittsburgh Pirates won three of four games against the Chicago Cubs earlier this week after avoiding a sweep over the weekend in dramatic fashion.
It’s crazy what calling your top prospect ultra-talented with nearly unlimited perks can do for a struggling offense, isn’t it?
Calling Oneil Cruz is one of the most important checkpoints in rebuilding organizations, but it’s important to remember what stage they are in.
Currently, 12 players have made their major league debuts this season, with potentially more to come by the end of the year.
While things have absolutely gotten more interesting since the first wave of prospects started rolling up in Pittsburgh, there will always be a number of growing pains that come with playing so many rookies.
Even Cruz isn’t a finished product at this point, scary as it sounds with the start he’s taken.
That brings me to Thursday’s game against the Cubs – more about a late decision that seemed to have destroyed the Pirates’ chances of securing the series victory.
Derek Shelton didn’t hesitate to use David Bednar, in almost every situation, even if it meant he was over three out.
This led to some comfort factor and went a step further in covering up some of the issues the bullpen had.
It’s also not a scenario you want to repeat over and over throughout an entire season. You want to establish another arm you can rely on in the eighth inning to hand things over to Bednar to close things out.
So, the Pirates looked to Yerry De Los Santos to pull out the eighth-inning final to get them out of a jam created by Wil Crowe. All of this with Bednar sitting in the bullpen.
Things didn’t go to plan, and it took Michael Chavis to tie the game in the eighth before finishing in extra innings to close out the win and the series win.
Bednar ended up pitching the ninth inning, and the Pirates still won. Everything is fine in heaven, right?
There’s been some uproar about not bringing in Bednar to try and get the last of the innings out, and that’s a good point – we’ve seen that a few times before this season.
The thing to remember is that this year is still the year of “taking it all in”. It’s a chance for the players who made their debut this season an opportunity to carve out a role for themselves in the future. Remember, even though some of these rookies have played, over the next few seasons there will be some very talented prospects looking to take their place.
The Pirates gave De Los Santos the chance to show he can handle a high leverage situation, and even if it didn’t work out, it won’t be the last shot he gets. It’s a learning opportunity to see how he responds and see if he can build on that.
So, despite the fun of picking up extra wins not originally planned, it’s still the point of rebuilding to allow young players to find themselves. Sometimes that means putting them in a position where they could fail.
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