The pitching is not going to be this bad. I promise you: it’s not. Corey Kluber will probably never walk four hitters again all season long. Chris Sale will probably regain his command, sooner rather than later. And Kutter Crawford. . . well, it looks like he isn’t going to be around for much longer.
Kutter Crawford is running out of time. He might be used to this, because the fact is that he’s shown up late to every stage of his baseball life. He took a detour through junior college before finally making it to D1 ball two years later. His minor league development was majorly delayed twice, first by Tommy John surgery, then by the COVID pandemic. He didn’t make his big league debut until he was 25, and didn’t make an Opening Day roster until he was 27.
And now, on the day he was to make his first start of the season, there was rehab news circulating about both Brayan Bello and Garrett Whitlock — two guys coming for Kutter’s job.
So imagine what it’s like when — already feeling like he’s fallen behind in his career and peeking over his shoulder at two talented pitchers hot on his tail — he comes out and has that game?
The first inning wasn’t even all that bad, really. The three runs the Pirates scored came on a series of bleeders and tough defensive plays, and Crawford probably returned to the dugout feeling good about his stuff and cursing his luck. And for as tough of an inning as it was, the Red Sox offense immediately rendered it irrelevant, with homers from Rafael Devers, Masataka Yoshida, and Triston Casas. Krawford had a clean slate, a lead, and a reason to believe that he’d pitched better than his line showed up to that point.
And then . . .
Bryan Reynolds gets a hanging slider:
Another day, another Bryan Reynolds home run. pic.twitter.com/xwfevyYH2B— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 3, 2023
Jason Delay gets a thigh-high, middle-in fastball that’s not all that fast:
Jason Delay - Pittsburgh Pirates (1) pic.twitter.com/3lQT2uDQmG— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) April 4, 2023
And Bryan Reynolds blasts another one, this time off a cutter over the heart of the plate:
Bryan Reynolds is having himself a night. pic.twitter.com/c3vYXNEXPR— Jamie Gatlin (@JamieGatlin17) April 4, 2023
The stuff is there. And his outstanding July last year (a 2.57 ERA in 5 starts) suggests he might be capable of harnessing it. But this is a team desperate to keep runs off the board, with two plus arms on their way back. Crawford will probably get at least one more turn, but eventually Whitlock and Bello are coming back and sending him to Worcester. It might be a long time before he makes it back after that.
- Alex Verdugo: .112 WPA, 3-5, 1 R
- Adam Duvall: .058 WPA, 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
- Masataka Yoshida: 0.58 WPA, 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, BB
- Kutter Crawford: -.509 WPA, 4 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 3 HR, 6 K, 2 BB
- Kiké Hernandez: -.142, 0-4, 2 K, BB, E
- Christian Arroyo: -0.70, 0-3, BB
WPA Play Of The Game:
According to Win Probability Added, the most impactful play in the game was, believe it or not, Triston Casas’s game-tying homer in the first inning. This is a case where WPA gets it wrong. I’m going with Reynolds’ second homer, here.
Who Was The Red Sox Player Of The Game?
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