Pittsburgh Pirates 5, Cincinnati Reds 4: Stars And Stiffs
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates earned a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night to improve to 18-15 overall on the season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, powered by four solo home runs, defeated the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark by a score of 5-4 on Wednesday. With the win, the Pirates improved to 4-4 on the season against the Reds and 18-15 overall. Here are the three stars and stiffs for the Pittsburgh Pirates from Wednesday night.
Second baseman Josh Harrison – Cincinnati native Josh Harrison was not in the Pittsburgh Pirates starting lineup on Wednesday night. However, after Sean Rodriguez shifted from second base to left field to replace the ejected Starling Marte in the bottom of the fifth inning Harrison came into the game to play second base.
After entering the game Harrison only had one at bat, but he made it count. In the top of the eighth inning with the Pirates trailing 4-3 Josh Harrison hit a game tying home run to right-center field. This was Harrison’s second home run of the season, and raised his batting average on the season to a healthy .314. Harrison also made a great play ranging far to his left, fielding the ball, and then planting his feet to throw to first base and retire Zack Cozart for the first out of the bottom of the eighth inning.
Pitcher Tony Watson – Left-handed reliever Tony Watson pitched the bottom of the eighth inning for the Pirates, faced three batters, and recorded three ground ball outs. After not looking like the dominant Tony Watson Pirate fans had become so accustomed to in recent years, he has now recorded back-to-back 1-2-3 innings after not having one since Opening Day.
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Tony Watson starting to return to being, well, Tony Watson would be a huge shot in the arm to a struggling Pirate bullpen. It was also nice to see a scoreless inning from Jared Hughes tonight who has struggled since returning form the disabled list. If Watson and Hughes can begin to get back to old form, that will go a long way toward fixing the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen – Is Andrew McCutchen heating up? It appears so. Cutch went 1-for-4 with a walk and a solo home run at the plate tonight, and also drove Billy Hamilton, literally, to the center field wall on a ball tonight.
After struggling in April Cutch now has a .313/.389/.469/.858 slash line in May. Those May numbers are much more Cutch like than what we saw in April. If Andrew McCutchen is starting to heat up as it appears, well then, best of luck National League pitching.
Next: What Is Plaguing Andrew McCutchen
Starting pitcher Juan Nicasio – Juan Nicasio was not terrible tonight, but he was not overly good either. Nicasio went six innings tonight allowing four runs on four hits, no walks, he hit a batter, allowed a home run, and struck out five batters. The most impressive part of Nicasio’s start was the fact he only needed 68 pitches to get through six innings.
After his start tonight Nicasio has a 3.62 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 3.95 xFIP, and he is averaging 8.92 K/9 and a career best 3.62 BB/9. Overall, Juan Nicasio has done a nice job for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. However, anytime a starting pitcher gives up four runs over just six innings pitched that is not a good start.
Left fielder Starling Marte – A strong argument can be made that Starling Marte has been the Pittsburgh Pirates best player this season, but that was not the case tonight. Marte went 0-for-2, ending his streak of four consecutive multi-hit games, but he did reach base once after being hit by a pitch.
After reaching base following being hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth, Marte was caught stealing. Also, in the bottom of the fourth Marte made a very poor throw to the plate allowing Tucker Barnhart to score from third base on a fly out.
Starling Marte has been very good this season, but he did not have his best of games tonight. And to top it off, he even got ejected! Starling will enjoy a well deserved day off tomorrow.
That will actually do it for tonight. Only two stiffs tonight instead of three, yay! Enjoy the game off tomorrow, the Bucs get back at it with the best team in baseball the Chicago Cubs at 2:20pm on Friday afternoon.