Pittsburgh Pirates 11, Los Angeles Dodgers 3: Stars And Stiffs

August 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang (27), second baseman Josh Harrison (5), third baseman David Freese (23), center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) and shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) celebrate the 11-3 victory against Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
August 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang (27), second baseman Josh Harrison (5), third baseman David Freese (23), center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) and shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) celebrate the 11-3 victory against Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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On Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates obliterated the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 11-3 to capture their weekend series at Dodger Stadium.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will finish the regular season with a 5-2 record against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In late June, the Bucs took two of three from the Dodgers at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates then followed that up by taking two of three in Los Angeles this weekend.

Sunday’s win by the Pittsburgh Pirates was one that was never in doubt. The Bucs struck for five runs in the first inning, and never looked back. The Pirates got another strong start from Chad Kuhl, good work from their bullpen, and the offense scored early and often. Here are the Pittsburgh Pirates’ three stars and stiffs from their 11-3 victory on Sunday afternoon.

STARS

Second baseman Josh Harrison – The recent hot hitting of Josh Harrison continued on Sunday afternoon. Also, in typical Josh Harrison fashion, he made contributions both on the bases and in the field as well.

At the plate Harrison went 4-for-6 with a double, two RBIs, and two runs scored. With his effort on Sunday, Josh Harrison’s batting average rose to .275 for the season. However, his wOBA (.297) and wRC+ (86) both remain well below league average.

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Josh Harrison also made a brilliant play at second base on Sunday. He made a great diving stop on a hot shot by Howie Kendrick leading off the top of the ninth inning. Harrison was able to range to his right, glove the ball, and throw out Kendrick to lead off the ninth.

Hopefully, the recent hot hitting of Harrison will continue. After his four hit effort on Sunday afternoon Josh Harrison is slashing .356/.438/.467/.905 in his last 12 games (48 plate appearances). Getting Josh Harrison hot down the stretch would be a huge boost for the Pittsburgh Pirates in their pursuit of a fourth consecutive postseason berth.

Left fielder Adam Frazier – When Clint Hurdle first filled out his lineup card on Sunday afternoon, Adam Frazier was not in the lineup. Starling Marte was slated to start in left field, however, Marte was a late scratch due to a sore back that caused him to leave Saturday’s game early.

Despite not being in the original lineup, Adam Frazier had a monster game on Sunday afternoon. Frazier collected his first career four hit game, finishing the day 4-for-5 with two runs scored. Since being promoted to the Major Leagues in June, all Adam Frazier has done is hit. Evident by his .348/.375/.507/.882 slash line, .377 wOBA, and 140 wRC+ he has posted through his first 72 career plate appearances.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team that will forever have a special spot in Adam Frazier’s heart. He made his Major League debut against the Dodgers on June 24th, and collected his first career hit in that game. Now, he can also say that he collected his first career four hit game against the Dodgers.

Right fielder Sean Rodriguez – Even though Sean Rodriguez’s day was cut short due to a leg injury in the top of the ninth inning, the Pirates’ do-it-all man did it all on Sunday. 2016 has been by far the best season of Sean Rodriguez’s Major League career, and that certainly continued on Sunday afternoon.

August 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Sean Rodriguez (3) is greeted by third baseman Jung Ho Kang (27) and right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) after hitting a three run home run in the first inning against Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
August 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Sean Rodriguez (3) is greeted by third baseman Jung Ho Kang (27) and right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) after hitting a three run home run in the first inning against Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Sean Rodriguez finished Sunday’s game 3-for-4 with a walk, a home run, and four RBI. On the season Rodriguez now owns a .251/.338/.502/.840 slash line, a .355 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 125. Rodriguez’s current on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, wOBA, and wRC+ are all new career highs.

The home run Sean Rodriguez hit was the hit that, in my opinion, busted the game open for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the top of the first with the Bucs leading 2-0 and Jung Ho Kang and Francisco Cervelli on base Rodriguez blasted a three run home run to right field. This was Rodriguez’s 12th home run of the season, which ties his previous career high, and it gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-0 lead that they would never even come close to surrendering.

There were a lot of people, even some who claim to bring ‘real Pirates’ analysis’ that criticized the Pirates resigning Sean Rodriguez this past offseason. In fact, they even said that the Pirates should not let him make the team out of Spring Training. Well, luckily, Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle are much smarter when it comes to baseball than these people are.

STIFFS

Relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo – Even though the pitching staff did a stellar job on Sunday afternoon, things did not go well for left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo. In his seventh appearance since rejoining the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline, Bastardo struggled on Sunday.

Antonio Bastaro lasted just 2/3 of an inning, and allowed one run on a hit and a walk. This was just the second earned run allowed by Bastardo since rejoining the Pirates, in what is now 4 2/3 innings pitched. Despite his struggles on Sunday, I still have confidence when Clint Hurdle turns to Bastardo.

Only one stiff today, yay!

Next: What has made the difference for Juan Nicasio?

That will do it for today. Sunday afternoon was one of the best games the Pittsburgh Pirates have played all season. It was also a great bounce back effort from Saturday afternoon’s debacle. As a result, the Bucs are now 59-56 overall on the season. If the St. Louis Cardinals win tonight, as I am typing this they trail the Cubs 2-1, the Bucs will be one game out of the second National League Wild Card spot. If the Cardinals win, they will be one and a half games out.

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