The Pittsburgh Pirates had yet another offensive explosion to start the series against Rangers’ ace Cole Hamels. The Pirates took the game by the score of 9-1.
- Long time Phillie, Cole Hamels, has had his way with the Pirates in his career…that is until tonight. Before the game tonight, the players in the Pirates lineup tonight had a combined .241 batting average against Hamels with one home run and 24 strikeouts. The Pirates turned that trend around starting in the second inning with a Starling Marte home run, and continued BUC’N the trend in the fifth with a five run inning capped off with a three-run home run by Jung Ho Kang. Marte was one of the few Pirates that have had success against Hamels, recording a .308 average in 14 at bats.
- The Pirates “bench players” came up big once again for the team in the win against the Rangers. Sean Rodriguez 1-for-1 with two walks against the Rangers’ lefty starter and was able to score a run. Rodriguez also had a steady glove at first while digging the ball out of the dirt on a spectacular Jordy Mercer play nab Jurickson Profar to begin the bottom of the first inning. Many may not consider David Freese a bench player, however with Jung Ho Kang back and thriving in the Pirates lineup, Freese once again did a nice job manning third and gave Kang a night off in the field. Freese went 3-for-4 with a run scored and plated a run in the big fifth inning for the Pirates. Cole Figueroa also came in late for the Pirates replacing Josh Harrison at second base. Figueroa went 1-for-2 with a single in the game.
- Andrew McCutchen‘s first two at bats of the night did not go his way. McCutchen went down looking in both at bats and added another strikeout later in the game, climbing his 2016 strike out total to 47 through 44 games. McCutchen’s strikeout rate is now just over 23 percent. For more in depth analysis on McCutchen’s strikeout rate, click here to read our own Sean Riley’s take and what it means for the Pirates.
- With the game that the Pirates played tonight, it really comes down to nit picking to fine another throwaway. However, going through the box score, the Pirates could have put up even more runs on the Rangers than they did. The Pirates left 19 runners on base in the game. Leaving runners on base has been something that the Pirates have seemed to put behind them, however, it is destined to come up over a long season.
W- Jonathon Niese (5-2)
L- Cole Hamels (5-1)
Line of the Night- Jonathon Niese threw his fourth consecutive quality start for the Pirates. Niese went six innings and gave up one run over seven hits. He has benefited from some very good run support in most of his starts this season, however, Niese didn’t need much tonight with his only blemish coming form a Adrian Beltre home run.
Up Next- The Pirates will face Yu Darvish in his first Major League start since August of 2014 on Saturday evening in Globe Life Park. The once proclaimed Rangers’ ace, who is the fastest player to reach 500 strikeouts in Major League history, missed last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Darvish was on the mound for the Rangers in the game that took the Pirates franchise over the hump in 2013 in which the team recorded its 82 win and its first winning season in 20 years. Darvish lost to Gerrit Cole and the Pirates that day by a score of 1-0. Opposing Darvish will be Juan Nicasio. Nicasio is 4-3 on the year with a 4.46 ERA. In his last start, Nicasio went five innings against the braves and gave up five runs on eight hits.