Pittsburgh Pirates 4, New York Mets 0: Stars And Stiffs
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the New York Mets by a score of 4-0 on Tuesday night, snapping their five game losing streak.
The Pittsburgh Pirates entered Tuesday night’s match up with the New York Mets as losers of five consecutive games. However, that changed in an emphatic way on Tuesday night. The Pirates earned a 4-0 victory over the Mets, thanks in large part to a dominating performance from Jameson Taillon.
The Pittsburgh Pirates got dominant pitching on Tuesday night, and this was accompanied by strong defense and timely hitting. Honestly, it was the perfect way to start this road trip. Especially after the 2-5 week the Pirates just had. Here are the Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs in Tuesday night’s victory.
Starting pitcher Jameson Taillon – In his second career Major League start on Tuesday night, Jameson Taillon was absolutely dominant. Taillon held the Mets scoreless over eight innings, and allowed just two hits and walking just one. Maybe the most impressive aspect of Taillon’s start was that he needed just 91 pitches to go eight full innings.
Jameson Taillon allowed just one hard hit ball all night. That lone hard hit ball came off the bat of Mets’ second base man Kelly Johnson in the bottom of the fourth inning. However, that ball was hit right into the glove of Josh Harrison who was playing Johnson perfectly in the shift.
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The New York Mets were held hitless by Jameson Taillon through the first six innings. The first hit Taillon allowed was a weakly hit ground ball by Curtis Granderson that barely snuck through the infield between a diving Jordy Mercer and a diving Josh Harrison. The only other hit allowed by Taillon was a softly hit bloop single by Asdrubal Cabrera to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning.
Another great thing to see from Taillon on Tuesday night was the fact he generated 16 ground ball outs. It was just one weak contact out after another. Taillon was also able to struck out five Mets batters thank in large part to a filthy curveball. Furthermore, Taillon’s lone walk he issued never should have happened because his 3-2 curveball to Yoenis Cespedes was a strike but home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstadt’s strike zone was abysmal on Tuesday night.
I honestly believe that Jameson Taillon’s curveball has the potential to become one of the best, most un-hittable pitches in all of Major League Baseball in the not so distant future. Taillon also did a great job of using mostly just his fastball the first time through the lineup. This allowed him to really set up his breaking ball and off-speed pitches later in the game.
Simply put, Jameson Taillon was absolutely dominant on Tuesday night. This is the pitcher Pittsburgh Pirates fans have been antsy to see ever since he was drafted number two overall in 2010. Jameson Taillon also deserves a lot of credit for throwing a dominating gem in a game when his team needed it dearly. It is going to be a lot of fun watching Taillon grow as a starting pitcher throughout the rest of the season.
Third baseman Jung Ho Kang – Jung Ho Kang continues to murder baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman went 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run on Tuesday night. His home run was a two-run shot that scores Starling Marte to break a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth inning.
The home run left Kang’s bat with an exit speed of 111 miles per hour, and this was just one of two balls Kang smoked on Tuesday night. In his last at bat he hit a sinking line drive to center field that Yoenis Cespedes made a great running catch on. After Tuesday night Kang now has a .412 wOBA and a 165 wRC+ on the season.
Jung Ho Kang also flashed some leather on Tuesday night. Jung Ho Kang has always rated as an above average defensive third baseman, and this was on display once again on Tuesday. After Taillon allowed his first hit of the game in the bottom of the seventh, Yoenis Cespedes smoked a ground ball right at Kang. Kang was able to hand the hard hit ball to start an around-the-horn double play.
Left fielder Starling Marte – The best offensive season of Starling Marte’s career continued on Tuesday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder went 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored on Tuesday night. Marte now has a .335 batting average, which is good for third best in the National League.
In the top of the sixth inning and the game tied at zero, Jacob deGrom retired the first two Pirate batters of the inning. However, Marte was able to hit a two out single through the left side of the field and this would be followed by a two-run home run by Jung Ho Kang. Marte would then give the Pirates some insurance runs with a two-run home run of his own, scoring Gregory Polanco, in the top of the eighth inning.
On the season Marte is now slashing .335/.376/.502/.878 with a .376 wOBA and a wRC+ of 141. All of these numbers are career highs for Marte, who, along with ranking third in the National League in batting average, also ranks second in the National League in stolen bases (19) and third in doubles (18). It will be fun to watch Marte and Gregory Polanco battle it out the rest of the season for the title of Pittsburgh Pirates best player.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen – Andrew McCutchen’s miserable season continued on Tuesday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder went 0-for-4 at the plate, dropping his average on the season to just .237. McCutchen’s on-base-percentage also continued to plummet on Tuesday night and is now just .317.
As I wrote earlier today, Andrew McCutchen needs moved down in the Pittsburgh Pirates batting order. You can not hit a batter with a .317 on-base percentage, especially one with a 24.5 percent strike out rate, in your two hole. Until McCutchen shows he is over whatever is plaguing him, he has to move down in the batting order.
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That will do it for tonight. Only one stiff, yay! Tuesday night was one of the best all-around games the Pittsburgh Pirates played all season. Best of all, it came when the team needed it most. The win snaps their five game losing streak, and pulls the Pirates to just a game and a half back of the New York Mets for the second National League Wild Card spot.
The Pittsburgh Pirates also continued their dominance of the New York Mets with this victory. The Pirates are now 3-1 against the Mets this season, and have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Mets dating back to last season. When you consider the pitching staff the Mets have, this is extremely impressive.