Pittsburgh Pirates 3, New York Mets 1: Stars And Stiffs Part Deux
On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates swept a doubleheader for the first time since July of 2013. The Pittsburgh Pirates played the New York Mets twice, and won both games a score of 3-1.
On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Pirates played 18 of the best innings of baseball that they have played all season. The Pirates played a doubleheader with the New York Mets, faced two of the National League’s best starting pitchers in Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom, and the Bucs won both games by scores of 3-1. The most impressive part? Matz and deGrom only lasted a combined 11 innings while allowing a combined five earned runs.
In both games on Tuesday the Pittsburgh Pirates got strong starting pitching, strong work from their bullpen, and timely hitting. As a result of sweeping Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Pittsburgh Pirates have surpassed the New York Mets in the standings and now control the top National League Wild Card spot. Here are the Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs from their 3-1 victory in game two on Tuesday.
Starting pitcher Juan Nicasio – Despite lasting just five innings and a batter, Juan Nicasio looked like the pitcher the Pittsburgh Pirates saw in Spring Training and in April on Tuesday. Nicasio pitched five innings and allowed just one run on three hits, two walks, and seven strike outs. Nicasio started the sixth inning, walked Curtis Granderson to lead off the inning, and was then pulled for Jared Hughes.
Juan Nicasio retired the first 12 batters he faced, and this included seven strike outs. All in all, Nicasio gave a much needed strong outing on Tuesday night. After his performance on Tuesday Nicasio has a 4.50 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 4.03 xFIP, and is averaging 9.00 K/9 on the season.
With Jameson Taillon making his Major League debut tomorrow it is possible this was the last start Juan Nicasio makes for awhile. If so, he went out with a bang. But in my opinion, rather or not Juan Nicasio makes a start against the Mets next week or not will hinge on what Francisco Liriano does in his next start.
Third baseman Sean Rodriguez – After Jung Ho Kang started game one of the doubleheader at third base, Sean Rodriguez got the start there in game two. And Sean Rodriguez did not disappoint manager Clint Hurdle or Pittsburgh Pirates fans.
Sean Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a double at the plate on Tuesday night. Rodriguez also scored the Pittsburgh Pirates second run of the game on an infield single by Chris Stewart in the second inning. After his two hit performance on Tuesday night, Rodriguez now has a .376 wOBA and a 140 wRC+ on the season.
First baseman John Jaso – John Jaso, aka John JasGOAT, collected a pair of hits on Tuesday night. In the fifth inning, Jaso hit a double into the right-center field gap to score Chris Stewart and extend a 2-1 Pirates lead to 3-1. Jaso would then add a single in the seventh inning.
Jaso also made a huge defensive contribution on Tuesday night. In the top of the sixth inning with Curtis Granderson on first base, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a hard ground ball off of Jared Hughes. Jaso made a great pick on the ball, stepped on first base to record the first out, and then threw the ball to Jordy Mercer to get Granderson in a rundown that ended in a 3-6-3 double play. Jaso’s seemingly easy transition to first base continues to be amazing to watch.
Right fielder Matt Joyce – Matt Joyce has been a great addition to the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. However, he did not have a good game at all on Tuesday night. Matt Joyce went 0-for-4 on Tuesday night, and he struck out in all four at bats.
Despite his struggles on Tuesday night, Joyce is still having a great season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the season Joyce has a .445 wOBA and a 187 wRC+. The next time Matt Joyce is called upon to start, which could be tomorrow due to Starling Marte‘s left ankle, I would look for him to bounce back.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen – Andrew McCutchen‘s struggles in the 2016 season continued on Tuesday night. Cutch went 0-for-4 at the plate and he struck out twice. This included striking out with men on second and third and just one out in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Even though McCutchen is only hitting .250 on the season, I still think that he will eventually get it going. In my opinion, Cutch is far too talented of a player not to. Sooner or later, I expect Cutch to get in one of his grooves where he just absolutely crushes everything for about a month or so.
That will do it for tonight. What an incredibly exciting day this was for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They announced that Jameson Taillon will make his Major League debut tomorrow and they swept a doubleheader from the New York Mets. Tomorrow is Jameson Taillon Day, what a time to be alive.