After each Pirate game I am going to begin to post my three stars and three stiffs of the previous day’s game, with the first rendition of it being today. Last night the Pirates defeated the Colorado Rockies by a score of 9-8 in 12 innings. Here the Pirates three stars and three stiffs from last night’s victory.
Three Stars for the Pirates
Pitcher Kyle Lobstein – Left-handed reliever Kyle Lobstein pitched three innings out of the Pirate bullpen last night allowing three hits, zero runs, he did not walk a batter, and he struck out two. This included Lobstein retiring eight of the final nine batters he faced. Lobstein took over for the Pirates in the bottom of the ninth, and gave the bullpen a much needed shot in the arm. If not for Lobstein’s efforts last night, odds are the Rockies would have been victorious.
Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong – Ryan Vogelsong played a vital, but probably overlooked, role in last night’s Pirate victory. Vogelsong took over for Jon Niese in the top of the 6th inning with the bases loaded, zero outs, and the Pirates leading 7-4. Vogelsong got Cristhian Adames to ground into a fielder’s choice, Gerardo Parra flew out, and then Trevor Story struck out looking. Normally Vogelsong is asked to pitch more than one inning at a time but last night Clint Hurdle only needed the right-handed pitcher to give the Bucs one inning, and Vogelsong recorded three of the most important outs of the game.
Shortstop Jordy Mercer – The Pirate shortstop only had one hit last night, but it was the biggest hit of the game. Mercer went one for five with a double, two RBIs, and a walk. Mercer also, once again, played sparkling defense at shortstop last night and saved the Pirates at least one run with his glove last night. As I said above, Mercer’s lone hit last night was the biggest of the game. With Gregory Polanco on first base with two outs in the top of the 13th inning Mercer drove a double over the head of Rockies centerfielder Gerardo Parra to score Polanco, and this double gave the Pirates a lead they would not relinquish.
Three Stiffs for the Pirates
Pitcher Jon Niese – Jon Niese made his fifth start of the season last night, and while the Pirates improved to 5-0 on the year when Niese starts, the left-handed starter struggled last night. Niese pitched into the sixth inning allowed five runs on ten hits, two walks. five strikeouts, and he allowed a pair of home runs. Niese was spotted a 7-0 lead in
the top of the 4th inning, and proceeded to allowing four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Niese then loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the 6th inning before being pulled for Ryan Vogelsong. Niese now has a 5.08 ERA and a 5.83 FIP on the season, moving forward the Pirates need Niese to pitch better than that.
Pitcher Neftali Feliz – Last night the right-handed reliever faced four batters and only retired one. Feliz inherited a 7-4 lead in the 7th inning but proceeded to allow two doubles, a home run, and two runs. Now in defense of Feliz last night was the fifth time he has pitched in the last seven games, including having just throw 40 pitches on Sunday and then pitching an inning of relief on Tuesday night. Due to this, in my opinion, Feliz should have been given the night off last night. But the fact is he was not given the night off, and failed to do his job.
Pitcher Tony Watson – Watson was asked to give the Bucs 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen last night, which is more than his usual one inning, and Watson did not pitch poorly but he still blew the 8-7 lead he inherited. Watson allowed just two hits and struck out a pair in his 1 2/3 innings pitched, but one of the hits he allowed was a game tying home run to Gerardo Parra in the 8th inning. Watson looked more like his dominant self last night but he still failed to hold the lead he was given, and moving forward the Pirates need dominant Tony Watson.