Pittsburgh Pirates 5, Arizona Diamondbacks 4: Stars And Stiffs
On Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates won their third straight game by defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 5-4.
With their win over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now a season high seven games over .500 at 26-19. Furthermore, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 7-2 through the first nine games of this ten game homestand.
The Pirates got a decent start from Jeff Locke, who has pitched at least six innings in five of his last six starts, who allowed four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Now the Pirates will go for the series sweep against the Diamondbacks tomorrow as Gerrit Cole takes the mound. Now, here are Wednesday night’s three stars and stiffs for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Right fielder Gregory Polanco – Gregory Polanco is continuing to grow into a superstar before our very eyes. On Wednesday night Polanco went 3-for-4 with a double, a RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored. Gregory Polanco now has 18 doubles on the season, which leads the National League.
Polanco now has a .317 batting average, .402 on base percentage, and a .962 OPS on the season. Gregory Polanco also leads the team with a .403 wOBA and a wRC+ of 157. Combine this with the stellar defense Polanco has played, and he has been the Pirates best player in 2016.
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When he was coming up through the Minor Leagues Gregory Polanco was one of the ten best prospects in all of baseball for a reason. He was touted as a player that would be a perennial All-Star and a MVP candidate. We are watching Polanco grow into that player this season.
Third baseman David Freese – With Jung Ho Kang getting the night off, David Freese started at third base for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is such a luxury to have a former All-Star in Freese on the Pirate bench, and he played a huge role in the Pirate victory on Wednesday night.
At the plate, David Freese went 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk. Freese’s home run was undoubtedly the biggest hit of the game. In the bottom of the fifth inning with the Pirates trailing 4-3 and Gregory Polanco on second, David Freese launched a Rubby De La Rosa fastball 451 feet for a go ahead, and eventually game winning, two-run home run.
Freese also made contributions on defense on Wednesday night. In the top of the fourth Freese ranged far to his right on a ground ball, made a sliding stop, he got up, did a spin, and threw to first base for the first out of the inning.
Second baseman Sean Rodriguez – The original Pirate lineup had Josh Harrison at second base. However, Harrison fell ill prior to the start of the game. Due to this, Sean Rodriguez got the start at second base and he took advantage of it.
Even though Sean Rod was just 1-for-4 at the plate, his lone hit was a big one both literally and figuratively. Rodriguez led off the fourth inning with his fifth home run of the season to give the Pirates their first run of the season. This ball was absolutely crushed as it had an exit velocity of 106 miles per hour.
Rodriguez also had strong at bats in the first and fifth innings. In the first inning he lined out to third baseman Jake Lamb so hard, it had an exit velocity over 100 miles per hour, that it knocked Lamb over as he caught the ball. Then in the fifth inning he flew out to center field just barely missing his second home run of the game.
Sean Rod also made contributions on defense. In the top of the 8th inning with Rickie Weeks Jr. on first base, one out, and the Pirates leading 5-4 Wellington Castillo stepped to the plated. Castillo tattooed a ball to the right side of the infield, but the ball was hit right at Sean Rodriguez who caught the line drive and then quickly threw to first base John Jaso for an inning ending double play.
Shortstop Jordy Mercer – After going 0-for-4 at the plate in Wednesday night’s victory, Jordy Mercer’s batting average has dipped below .300 on the season. Mercer is now hitting .299, so barely below .300, on the season. Mercer also struck out a pair of times in Wednesday night’s victory.
Mercer was one of just two Pirate hitters to be held without a base hit on Wednesday night. The other, well we’ll talk about him below.
Left fielder Starling Marte – Like Mercer, Starling Marte went 0-for-4 on Wednesday night. This also included a pair of strike outs for Marte. Despite going 0-for-4, Marte’s batting average for the season is still over .300 at .319.
Even though he was held hitless, Marte was still able to record a RBI. In the bottom of the fifth inning with Andrew McCutchen on third base and Gregory Polanco on second base with no one out, Marte grounded out to third base to score McCutchen.
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That will do it for this one, as the Pirates only had two stiffs in this game. The Pittsburgh Pirates have a great opportunity to sweep this series tomorrow, and to finish the homestand at 8-2, as they send ace Gerrit Cole to the mound at 12:35pm. Get it done tomorrow #Ace45.