Pittsburgh Pirates 5, Cincinnati Reds 6: Stars and Stiffs

Picture courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Picture courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette /

On Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Cincinnati Reds by a score of 6-5. Here are the stars and stiffs from Sunday’s game.

The Pittsburgh Pirates suffered a 6-5 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds in 11 innings on Sunday. It was a game the Pirates should have won, but gave away due to some very poor defense. It was an ugly loss for the Pirates, but the Bucs were still able to take the series.

Three Stars

Pitcher Jeff Locke – Much maligned Pirate left-handed starting pitcher Jeff Locke pitched very well on Sunday. Locke allowed just three runs on four hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over seven innings pitched on Sunday afternoon. This start came on the heels of Locke throwing six scoreless innings against the Rockies at Coors Field in his last outing. Jeff Locke had his best control of the season on Sunday as he was continually putting the ball exactly where catcher Chris Stewart wanted it. Locke also posted a solid 2.20 FIP on Sunday to support his strong start. If Jeff Locke can get onto a roll as it appears he just might be, that would be a huge shot in the arm for the Pirate rotation.

Outfielder Starling Marte – On Sunday Pirate left fielder Starling Marte went 2-5 with a RBI. His RBI was of the game tying variety in the bottom of the 8th inning with the Pirates trailing 4-3. Also, Marte picked up his National League best fourth outfield of the assist on the season when he threw out Tucker Barnhart at third base in the 6th inning. Marte’s stellar start to his 2016 season continued against the Reds on Sunday.

First Baseman John Jaso – John Jaso only recorded one hit on Sunday, but it was a big one. In the bottom of the 9th with the Pirates trailing 5-4 Jaso came to the plate with two outs, no one on base, and he drove a 96mph Ross Ohlendorf fastball over the Clemente Wall for a game tying home run. This was Jaso’s second home run in as many days, and helped him continue is excellent start to the season. For the season, Jaso now owns a .306/.375/.471/.846 slash line.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates Transactions: April 24-30

Three Stiffs

Catcher Chris Stewart – Backup catcher Chris Stewart went 0-4 at the plate on Sunday, and this included popping out to second base with Sean Rodriguez on third base and just one out in the 7th inning.  Then in the 8th inning the Reds were able to plate a run due to a Stewart hitter. Pinch runner Tyler Holt attempted to steal second base with Joey Votto in a rundown and Holt was dead to rights at the plate. However, Stewart dropped the ball as he was tagging Holt on what should have been the third out of the inning. If not for this Stewart error, the Pirates most likely win this game. 

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Pitcher Arquimedes Caminero – The poor start to the 2016 season continued for Pirate right-handed pitcher Arquimedes Caminero  on Sunday afternoon. Caminero took over in the 9th inning with the Pirates and Reds tied at four and Caminero was unable to keep the game tied. Caminero allowed a run on two hits on Sunday afternoon, and his control was a mess once again. On the season Caminero now has a 5.68 ERA and a 5.82 FIP. Whenever Jung Ho Kang returns, which should be sometime this week, I am hoping that Caminero is the odd man out on the Pittsburgh Pirate roster. It might be time to accept that Arquimedes Caminero is just not a very good pitcher.

Team Defense – The Pirates committed four errors on Sunday, two of which directly led to runs in the 8th inning. Chris Stewart’s aforementioned error was preceded by a Gregory Polanco error earlier in the inning when he misjudged a fly ball to right field and failed to catch it. Polanco did this again in the 11th inning on a ball that would have been a go-ahead sacrifice fly anyway. Also, in the 9th inning Jordy Mercer would have been able to get an out at third base but went to first base instead. Luckily, that mistake did not hurt the Pirates. Jeff Locke and Sean Rodriguez committed errors on Sunday as well.