Seattle Mariners 5, Pittsburgh Pirates 2: Stars And Stiffs


The Pittsburgh Pirates started a three city, nine game road trip in disappointing fashion on Tuesday night with a 5-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

On Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates started a nine game road trip that will take them to Seattle, Oakland, and St. Louis. This is a road trip on which the Pirates will be looking to make up ground in the standings. The Mariners are an average team at best, the A’s area poor team, and the Cardinals are just 15-21 at home this season.

The road trip is off to a poor start for the Pittsburgh Pirates though, following a 5-2 loss against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. Once again, the Pirates got a poor start from Jon Niese and this derailed the game early. Anyway, here are the Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs from Tuesday night’s loss.


Designated hitter Gregory Polanco – Gregory Polanco made his first start in nearly a week on Tuesday night. However, due to a left leg that is still bothering him Polanco had to serve as the team’s designated hitter and could not play his typical right field. Despite this, Polanco still had a big night at the plate on Tuesday.

Polanco finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, and a run score. Polanco now has a .300/.380/.521/.901 slash line on the season to go along with a .377 wOBA and a 1RC+ of 141. This season, Gregory Polanco is evolving into the Pittsburgh Pirates best player.

Relief pitcher Arquimedes Caminero – In Tuesday night’s loss, right-handed relief pitcher Arquimedes Caminero had his best outing of the season. Caminero pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and he struck out four batters. Also, Caminero allowed just two base hits and did not walk any Mariner batters.

This was maybe the first outing all season in which Arquimedes Caminero looked like the pitcher Pittsburgh Pirates fans saw last season. Caminero consistently sat in the 97-99 miles per hour range, including topping 100 miles per hour, on his fastball. But most encouragingly, Caminero flashed a plus split finger much like he did in 2015.

Since returning from the disabled list on June 11th, Caminero has looked more like the pitcher he was in 2015. After tonight’s outing, Caminero has pitched 10 2/3 innings in relief since returning from the disabled list and he has allowed just two earned runs. In these 10 2/3 innings pitched Caminero has also struck out eight batters, and has yet to allow a home run.

Left fielder Starling Marte – If Gregory Polanco is not the Pittsburgh Pirates best player, then Starling Marte is. On Tuesday night Marte went just 1-for-4 at the plate. However, that one hit was a seventh inning triple that drove in a run. Marte would also come around to score a run later that inning.

Starling Marte also flashed his always strong defense on Tuesday night. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Marte made a great running grab to take a hit away from Robinson Cano. This was a ball that looked like it might drop into the left-centerfield gap for a base hit, but Marte caught it and made it look easy.


Starting pitcher Jon Niese – The worst season of Jon Niese’s career continued on Tuesday night. When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded for Jon Niese in December, I expected him to be a strong number three starter this season. Well, unfortunately, I was way wrong.

In Tuesday night’s loss Jon Niese lasted just 4 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs, four of which were earned. These five runs allowed by Niese came as a result of allowing nine hits, two walks, a home run, and striking out just two batters. Also, the un-earned run allowed by Niese was as a result of an error that he committed.

After Tuesday night’s performance Jon Niese now has a 5.07 ERA, 5.59 FIP, and a 4.34 xFIP on the season. Jon Niese has also allowed a National League leading 19 home runs this season, which equates to averaging 1.85 HR/9 this season.

From 2012 through 2015 Jon Niese had a 3.65 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, and a 50.4 percent ground ball rate in 697 2/3 innings pitched. Niese also averaged just 2.54 BB/9 and 0.89 HR/9. Due to these results I expected Niese to be a strong number three starter this season. Unfortunately, Niese has been nowhere near this pitcher in 2016.

Right fielder Matt Joyce – With Gregory Polanco being regulated to designated hitter duties on Tuesday night, Matt Joyce got the start in right field. Joyce was able to collect a base hit in Tuesday night’s loss. However, he still had some very poor plays that contributed to the Pirate loss.

In the top of the fifth inning, David Freese hit a line drive to Seattle center fielder Leonys Martin. For whatever reason, Joyce did not read this and was easily doubled off of first base. Then in the top of the seventh inning with Starling Marte on third base and just one out, Matt Joyce popped out to first base failing to bring home a run.

First baseman John Jaso – In his return to Seattle, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman John Jaso had a forgettable night. Jaso went 0-for-4 on the night, and this included a pair of strikeouts. Unfortunately, JasGOAT was not very G.O.A.T. like on Tuesday night.

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That closes the book on Tuesday night’s loss. This was certainly not the way the Pittsburgh Pirates were hoping to start this road trip. Especially since it is a vital one if the Pirates are going to contend for a postseason spot this season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are now just 8-19 in the month of June, yikes. Talk about a true ‘June swoon.’ The Pirates will look to bounce back tomorrow, and split this abbreviated two game series, when they send Jameson Taillon to the mound to oppose Wade Miley at 10:10pm EST.