Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 9, Pittsburgh Pirates 2: Stars And Stiffs
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim clobbered the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 192 on Friday night to spoil the start of the Pirates homestand.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have now lost four games in a row, boo! On Friday night the Pittsburgh Pirates were annihilated by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by a score of 9-2. It goes without saying that this is not the way the Pittsburgh Pirates envisioned starting their homestand.
The Pittsburgh Pirates got miserably starting pitching, committed an error, and could not get much going on offense. Right now, the Pirates are stuck in a funk. But, hey, it’s baseball and those happen. Anyway, here are tonight’s Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs.
Third baseman Jung Ho Kang – The Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman just continues to murder baseballs. Kang finished the game 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a double. On the season, Kang now has 20 hits with 13 of them being for extra bases.
Kang also lined a hard hit out to right field in his third at bat of the night. Getting Jung Ho Kang back from offseason surgery has been a huge boost in the arm to the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup. In just his second season in the Major Leagues, Kang is quickly becoming one of the most feared hitters in the National League.
Relief pitcher Rob Scahill – Rob Scahill’s under-the-radar but solid work out of the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen this season continued on Friday night. Scahill pitched 2 1/3 innings pitched after Francisco Liriano‘s early exit, and he pitched well. Scahill allowed one bloop single, two walks, zero runs, and he struck out two batters in his 2 1/3 innings of work.
Scahill also had the ground ball working on Friday night garnering five ground ball outs, raising his ground ball rate on the season to a healthy 62.5 percent. After his strong outing on Friday night Rob Scahill now has a 3.18 ERA, 3.13 FIP, and a 3.84 xFIP on the season. Scahill is quickly becoming a vital part of the Pittsburgh Pirates middle relief.
Left fielder Starling Marte – Starling Marte produced a three hit performance on Friday night, raising his batting average to .319 on the season. Marte went 3-for-4 at the plate with a solo home run and a double.
On the season, Marte now has 17 doubles. This puts him second in the National League behind teammate Gregory Polanco. It will be fun to watch Marte and Polanco tangle over the title of ‘Pittsburgh Pirates best player’ the rest of the season.
Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano – Left-handed starter Francisco Liriano turned in his third consecutive poor start on Friday night. Liriano lasted just 3 1/3 innings and surrendered seven runs on ten hits, four walks, and just two strike outs. Suddenly, and surprisingly, Francisco Liriano has become the Pittsburgh Pirates worst starting pitcher.
After his outing on Friday night Liriano’s numbers for 2016 are ugly. In 61 2/3 innings pitched Francisco Liriano now has a 5.25 ERA, 5.66 FIP, and a 4.51 xFIP. Furthermore, his walk rate of 5.55 BB/9 and home run rate of 1.75 HR/9 are both entirely too high.
Things have really turned ugly for Liriano in his last five starts. In those five starts he has pitched 26 2/3 innings posting an ERA of 7.76. Liriano has also allowed 34 hits, 19 walks, and eight home runs during that stretch. Yikes.
In all honesty, I do wonder if Francisco Liriano is battling some sort of injury. He has not looked like himself at all his past five starts, and his control has been terrible. With Jameson Taillon having pitched for Triple-A Indianapolis tonight, I would not be shocked if we see Liriano land on the DL and then Taillon take his rotation spot on Wednesday against the New York Mets.
First baseman John Jaso – In uncharacteristic fashion, John Jaso was kept off the bases on Friday night. Jaso went 0-for-3 at the plate, and failed to work a walk. Jaso did not last the entire game on Friday night though, as he would be lifted as part of a double switch in the fifth inning.
Second baseman Josh Harrison – In Friday night’s loss, Josh Harrison went 0-for-4 at the plate. Harrison also struck out once, and left three men on base. Despite his poor effort on Friday night, Harrison still has a healthy .313 batting average on the season.
Despite his poor effort on Friday night, I would expect Harrison to bounce back tomorrow. Just as I said last night that I expected Starling Marte to do today. And he did, yay!
Next: The Pirates Bullpen Appears To Have Righted The Ship
That will do it for tonight. Friday night was an ugly, ugly loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates. There is no way around it, Francisco Liriano was the main culprit on Friday night. Even though the offense only mustered two runs, when your starter allows seven runs in 3 1/3 innings you are not going to win many games. Shower it off, and go get a win behind Jeff Locke on Saturday afternoon.