Texas Rangers 6, Pittsburgh Pirates 2: Stars And Stiffs
The Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the Texas Rangers by a score of 6-2 on Sunday afternoon, suffering their first series loss in two weeks.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated by the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon by a score of 6-2. The Pirates were done in by a bad fourth inning on Sunday. In the top of the fourth inning the Pittsburgh Pirates had men on second and third and failed to score. Then, the Rangers scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
On Sunday, Francisco Liriano had his second straight lackluster start. With the win, the Texas Rangers have now won eight straight home series. Anyway, here are the Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs from Sunday’s loss.
Left fielder Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte just keeps on hitting. On Sunday afternoon, Marte went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and he stole his 17th base of the season. Marte now is hitting .321 on the season with an .833 OPS.
Pittsburgh Pirate fans have always known how good Starling Marte is, but now he is starting to become known on a national stage. Marte is arguably the best left fielder in the National League, if not all of baseball, and he has put that on display this season.
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Third baseman David Freese – David Freese continues to get under the skin of Texas Ranger fans far and wide. Freese had just one hit on Sunday afternoon, but it was a solo home run that gave the Bucs a 2-0 lead in the third inning. This home run gives Freese four on the season.
David Freese also played a strong defensive game at first base, and continues to prove to be a great Spring Training addition by Neal Huntington. Overall on the year Freese is now slashing .279/.362/.403/.765 to go with a .340 wOBA and a wRC+ of 115.
Designated hitter Francisco Cervelli – Francisco Cervelli got a day off from catching on Sunday to DH, and he had a big game at the plate. Entering Sunday Cervelli was hitting just .186 in May, but it is starting to look like he is busting out of that.
Cervelli went 2-for-4 at the plate on Sunday, and this comes on the heels of him also picking up a base knock on Saturday night. Furthermore, the hardest hit ball Cervelli had on Sunday came in his last at bat. In the eighth inning he absolutely smoked a ball but right at Texas second baseman Jurickson Profar.
It appears that Francisco Cervelli is starting to bust out of his month long slump, and hopefully for the Pittsburgh Pirates offense he is. After today Cervelli is slashing .263/.363/.303/.666. Not only is Cervelli not the devil, he is also a better hitter than that.
Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano – Left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano was not very good on Sunday. After Liriano cruised through the first three innings, the you-know-what hit the fan in the fourth. In the fourth inning Liriano allowed four runs, two home runs, and he walked a pair.
Overall, Liriano pitched six innings and allowed five earned runs. In those five innings Liriano also allowed six hits and walked four batters. On the season Liriano has now walked a Major League worst 34 batters.
For a second straight start, Liriano really struggled with his fastball command. This is very concerning to see. Because when Liriano’s fastball command is lacking, he struggles big time. The Pittsburgh Pirates really need Liriano to get straightened out.
Catcher Chris Stewart – With Francisco Cervelli getting the start at DH on Sunday, Chris Stewart got a start behind the plate. Not only did Stewart go hit less at the plate in three at bats, he also played uncharacteristically bad defense.
On top of going 0-for-3 at the plate, Stewart also stranded four runners. In the fourth inning with runners on second and third and just one out, he grounded out to second base with the infield in to strand both runners. Then in the sixth inning he grounded out to shortstop for the third out of the inning, and this came with two runners on base as well.
Also, Chris Stewart made a rare error on Sunday afternoon. Rob Scahill struck out Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre to, seemingly, end the seventh inning. However, the pitch got past Stewart and then he threw the ball into right field when attempting to throw to first base to finish the strike out. This poor throw also allowed Jurickson Profar to score from second base.
Right fielder Matt Joyce – Sunday afternoon was a forgettable one for Matt Joyce. Joyce got the start in right field to give Gregory Polanco a day off, and things did not go well for Joyce. At the plate Joyce was 0-for-4 but things go a lot deeper than that.
Joyce came to the plate in the top of the fourth inning with men on second and third and no one out and in the infield back. All Joyce needed to do to score a run was hit a fly ball, or ground out to second base or shortstop. However, Joyce grounded out to first base and no run scored.
Then in the sixth inning Joyce came to the plate with men on first and second and no one out. This time Joyce struck out swinging. And just like the fourth inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to score.
Next: Sabermetrics Sunday: FIP
Sunday afternoon was one of the sloppiest games the Pittsburgh Pirates have played this season. The Pirates got a bad start from Francisco Liriano, they played poor defense, and they failed to get a big hit when need be. As Clint Hurdle loves to say, wash it off and go get a W tomorrow.