Joel Hanrahan has been a rock in the closer’s role these last two seasons, but even he let the Pirates down today as the team completed its collapse.
The Reds scored twice in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to beat the Pirates 4-3, dropping Pittsburgh to 77-82 and locking up a 20th consecutive season below .500.
The Pirates peaked at 16 games over .500 on Aug. 6, but they’re now five games under. They’re 5-18 in their last 23 games.
Hanrahan was 36-for-39 saving games this year before giving up a game-tying homer to ex-Pirate Xavier Paul. He took his second loss after Zack Cozart doubled in pinch-runner Denis Phipps to give the Reds the lead.
The homer was Paul’s fifth in 461 major league at-bats. He hit two in 232 at-bats for Pittsburgh last year.
Cincinnati’s win pushed the team back into a tie with the Nationals for the best record in the National League at 96-63.
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Steven Souza dove for a ball in a spring training game last night, missed, and ended up injuring his right shoulder.
It looked bad, too. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson stood over him, frantically waving to the dugout for a trainer as Souza kicked his legs in apparent pain. Souza held his arms awkwardly as he walked off the field. At the moment the Dbacks are calling it a right shoulder strain, but he’ll get an MRI on it today after which a more specific diagnosis will come.
If Souza is out for a while it’s a pretty big blow to Arizona’s 2018 plan. Souza was acquired to help cushion the blow of losing J.D. Martinez in free agency. While not the hitter Martinez is, Souza hit 30 homers in Tampa Bay last year, stood likely to at least match that in the more hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field and, of course, plays superior defense.
Potential replacements for Souza include moving David Peralta from left to right and inserting Yasmany Tomas in left or having fourth outfielder Dyson, or perhaps a platoon of Dyson and utilityman Chris Owings, handle right. Socrates Brito is another internal option.
Obviously the Snakes will wait to hear the results of the MRI before going too deeply into replacement plans, all the while hoping that Souza’s injury is far less serious than it appeared to be last night.