Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer went 3-for-5 with a double, a run batted in, and three runs scored against the Mariners on Wednesday.
Mercer continued his rampage against left-handed hitting on Wednesday as he got on base three times and proceeded to come across the plate each time he reached base. Mercer’s third inning double got the scoring started for the Pirates as his double sparked a three-run inning off of James Paxton. The 29-year-old infielder is now hitting .329 with nine RBIs in July and he could see an uptick in playing time due to his hot bat. It’s uncertain whether or not he will be in the lineup tomorrow but if he is I wouldn’t rush to use him for daily fantasy purposes as Junior Guerra allowed just two earned runs when he faced the Pirates just over a week ago.
Tony Cingrani picked up his 12th save of the season on Wednesday afternoon against the Giants.
Certainly on the lower end of the fantasy closing spectrum, Cingrani as at least showed that he may be in the process of turning things around. This month he’s pitched to a 1.86 ERA and he hasn’t blown a save since June 7th. Hopefully this is a new Cingrani that we can trust going forward, however keep in mind that the lowly Reds aren’t going to provide him with many save opportunities regardless of the drastic improvement he has shown.
Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte went 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, a run batted in, a walk, and a stolen base against the Mariners on Wednesday.
Marte did everything short of homer tonight and he had an incredibly productive game out of the cleanup spot for the Pirates. He had a clutch walk in the bottom of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and later came around to score on Jung Ho Kang’s bases clearing double. The 27-year-old has been an incredibly productive player for fantasy purposes this season as he’s hitting .318 with 35 extra base hits, 56 runs, 37 runs batted in, and 36 steals this season. He should continue to be a must-start for fantasy purposes for the rest of the year. Tomorrow he will face off against Junior Guerra who has allowed right-handed batters to hit just .210 against him this season.
Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang went 1-for-4 with a double and four runs batted in against the Mariners on Wednesday.
Kang came up to the plate with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and was able to hit a bases clearing double which put the game out of reach for Seattle. Kang had previously walked with the bases loaded in the third inning which gave the Pirates an early 3-0 lead. The 29-year-old has now doubled in back-to-back games and drove in five runs in the Pirates two-game series against the Mariners. He’s been streaky this month, as he was hitting just .186 with three runs batted in this month prior to tonight’s game. He’ll look to keep his momentum rolling against the red hot Junior Guerra tomorrow.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen had a great game tonight as he went 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, two runs scored, and four runs batted in.
McCutchen clubbed his 15th home run of the year in the eighth inning with the game already out of reach but he had already had a productive night prior to that at bat as he was just a triple shy of the cycle on Wednesday night. After a lousy month of June where he hit .202, McCutchen’s bat has been hot in July as he’s hitting .272 with three home runs, six extra-base hits, and 10 runs batted in. The 31-year-old will face off against right-hander Junior Guerra tomorrow who has allowed just seven earned runs in his last 39 and a third innings pitched, so it could be a tough day at the office for him on Thursday.
Gerrit Cole threw a complete game against the Mariners on Wednesday, allowing just one earned run on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts en route to his sixth win of the season.
Cole was handed an early lead in this game and he proceeded to shut down the Mariners bats tonight, as he only allowed three hits all night. Two of those hits went for extra-bases, but Cole did a great job of working around those two hits and allowed just one earned run. His six strikeout game tonight is tied for the second-best effort he’s had all season, but his low strikeout totals limit his upside for daily fantasy purposes down the stretch. The 25-year-old now has a stellar 2.78 ERA on the season and should continue to pitch well for the Pirates but there are some concerns about the run support that he will be getting in his starts as he has just six wins this year even with his great ERA. He should be a good look in daily fantasy leagues on his next start on Wednesday on the road against a Braves team that is absolutely dreadful at the plate.
Mariners left fielder Norichika Aoki went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored against the Pirates on Wednesday.
Aoki proved to be the only productive hitter in the Mariners lineup on Wednesday, as he had two out of their three hits as a team and scored their only run. The 34-year-old was also the only Mariners player to register an extra-base hit on the night. Aoki has been good in the month of July, albeit in a small sample size, as he’s hitting .333 this month with four extra-base hits. He was sent down to Triple-A earlier in the year after hitting just .245 in his first 284 plate appearances but he has made a good case to be a part of the Major League club for the foreseeable future. He’s not an everyday player, though, however, and doesn’t hold any real fantasy value.
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