Pittsburgh Pirates 8, Chicago Cubs 4: Stars And Stiffs
The Pittsburgh Pirates started their three game series with the Chicago Cubs on Friday night with a 8-4 victory over their divisional rivals.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have now won 11 of their last 14 games. On Friday night, the Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs by a score of 8-4 to start their final series before the All-Star Break on the right foot. With the win, the Pittsburgh Pirates now find themselves seven and a half games behind the Cubs for first place in the National League Central Division.
This was a very satisfying win for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs led earlier, let it slip away due to poor defense, and then rallied to defeat Jake Arrieta while tagging him for six runs. With the win, the Pirates are now just two and a half games behind the New York Mets for the National League’s final postseason position. Now, here are the Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs from Friday night’s game.
Shortstop Sean Rodriguez – Sean Rodriguez got the start at shortstop over Jordy Mercer on Friday night. But, as usual, would end up finishing the game at first base. Regardless of where he was playing, Rodriguez played a huge role, both offensively and defensively, in the Pittsburgh Pirates victory.
At the plate on Friday night, Sean Rodrigeuz went 1-for-4 with a two run home run. This home run came in the bottom of the second inning to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead. With his home run on Friday night, Sean Rodriguez now has eight on the season and he should shatter his previous career high of 12.
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Rodriguez also made a big defensive play in Friday night’s game. In the top of the sixth inning the Cubs had two men on and zero outs. Javier Baez hit a groundball to Rodriguez at shortstop, and he made a great job of quickly exchanging the ball from glove to hand and got it to second baseman Josh Harrison quickly. This started a key 6-4-3 double play, especially since Miguel Montero would hit a home run in the next at bat.
Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen – Friday night was one of the best games Andrew McCutchen has had in quite awhile. Andrew McCutchen finished Friday night’s contest 3-for-4 with a double, he was hit by a pitch, and he drove in a run. Surprisingly, this was McCutchen’s first appearance on the stars list in quite awhile.
Despite his big game on Friday night, McCutchen still has just a .312 wOBA and a 94 wRC+ on the season. Hopefully, Friday night’s strong game will help to jump-start McCutchen. If that happens, I expect the Pittsburgh Pirates to head to the postseason for a third consecutive season.
Pittsburgh Pirates pinch hitters – The Pittsburgh Pirates sent three pinch hitters to the plate on Friday night. They were Adam Frazier, Josh Bell, and Matt Joyce. These three hitters combined to go 1-for-1 with two walks and three runs scored on Friday night.
Adam Frazier worked a fantastic seven pitch at bat and walked to lead off the Pittsburgh Pirates four run seventh inning. This was followed by a Josh Bell single in his first Major League at bat. Both Frazier and Bell would come around to score in the seventh inning. Then in the eighth inning, Matt Joyce would draw a pinch hit walk and eventually come around to score.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the deepest and best bench in all of Major League Baseball. In Friday night’s victory, this was on display once again. The Pittsburgh Pirates pinch hitters played a huge role in the their 8-4 victory.
Third baseman David Freese – This may sound strange since David Freese had a big night at the plate on Friday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman went 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk at the plate Friday night. This was Freese’s tenth home run of the season, and he know has a .372 wOBA and a 136 wRC+.
The reason David Freese is on the stiffs list tonight is due to his defense. Freese committed a pair of errors on Friday night, including a very costly one in the sixth inning. David Freese committed a fielding error to lead off the sixth inning, and this led to the Cubs scoring two unearned runs in the sixth inning.
David Freese’s sixth inning error also shortened Francisco Liriano’s outing. As a result of that, the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen was forced to cover more innings than they should have had to cover. In the end though, the Pirates got the win so it all worked out.
Catcher Erik Kratz – As usual when he starts, catcher Erik Kratz finds himself on the stiffs list tonight. At the plate Kratz took his usual 0-for. Also, Kratz allowed a stolen base on Friday night.
Erik Kratz went 0-for-2 with a strike out on Friday night. On the season, Kratz now has a .109 wOBA and a -43 wRC+. Furthermore, somehow, he is striking out at a rate of 38.8 percent. Hurry back, Francisco Cervelli.
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That will do it for this game. Friday night was one of the most satisfying victories of the season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only did they defeat the hated Chicago Cubs, they did it by coming from behind to defeat arch nemesis Jake Arrieta. The victory was also powered by a thrilling four run rally in the seventh inning to go from trailing 4-3, to leading 7-4.
On Saturday night the Pirates will look to win the series. They will send right-handed rookie Chad Kuhl to the mound for his third career start. Kuhl will be opposed by Cubs’ left-hander Jon Lester, first pitch is at 7:15pm.