Cincinnati Reds 3, Pittsburgh Pirates 2: Stars And Stiffs
By Marty Leap
On Monday night the Pittsburgh Pirates lost game one of their three game series in Cincinnati against the Reds by a score of 3-2.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 17-15 on the season after suffering a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on Monday night. This was a game the Pirate offense did not do much in and cost them a victory. Here are the three stars and stiffs from Monday night’s loss.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen – On Monday night Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-3 at the plate, he drew a walk, and he scored a run. After his performance tonight McCutchen’s slash line is up to .248/.352/.448/.800 on the season, to go along with a .347 wOBA and a 115 wRC+. While for most hitters those numbers are not poor, they are poor for Andrew McCutchen’s standards.
Even though he has struggled this season McCutchen has a .381/.435/.476/.911 slash line his past five games. Also, during this five game stretch Cutch has hit a pair of doubles while walking twice. So hopefully Cutch is starting to heat up.
Left fielder Starling Marte – Starling Marte was 2-for-4 with a stolen base on Monday Night. This was Marte’s fourth consecutive multi-hit game, and Major League leading 16th multi-hit game on the season. While Starling Marte has always been a defensive wizard who has flashed offensive brilliance, this season he is starting to bud into the offensive superstar he has the potential to be.
Starting pitcher Jon Niese – Next to his seven shutout inning performance against the Brewers on April 16th, tonight was Jon Niese’s best start of the season. Niese pitched 6 2/3 innings surrendering three runs on seven hits, one walk, four strike outs, and he induced a pair of double play balls.
All three of the runs Niese allowed came via solo home runs. However, all three of the home runs were very cheap home runs that barely cleared the left field wall. At literally any other ballpark in the Majors all three of those balls would have probably been routine fly balls to Starling Marte. But that does not excuse the abysmal breaking ball Niese hung to Zack Cozart in the first inning that Cozart hit out for a home run.
All in all, this was an encouraging outing from Niese. Especially since, as I discussed earlier, this was a very important start for him.
Right fielder Gregory Polanco – So far this season Gregory Polanco has been arguably the Pirates best all-around player, but tonight was not his night. Polanco went 0-for-3 with a walk at the plate, but the contributions that have landed him on the stiffs list came in the eighth inning.
With the Pirates trailing 3-2 Reds reliever Blake Wood walked Andrew McCutchen to lead off the eighth inning, and then fell behind Gregory Polanco 3-0. Polanco was given the green light despite the count being 3-0 and I did not have a problem with this. My problem is that Polanco swung at a pitch two inches below the strike zone that would have been ball four.
Had Polanco taken that pitch, the Pirates would have had runners on first and second with no one out. Combine that with the fact the heart of their lineup was coming up, and who knows what would have happened.
Next: Tonight Is An Important Start For Jon Niese
That will do it for this game. I’m too frustrated thinking about this game to continue, and despite not reaching base at all tonight Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison both made defensive contributions that prevent them from falling in the stiffs category. Cervelli also had an RBI on a sacrifice fly tonight.