After a slight rain delay, the Pirates and the Cards got at it last night. I just knew the Bucs were licking their chops for a crack at the team that put them out of the playoffs lasts season, then they went out and proved it. WPA is the statistic I use for these articles. It doesn't give a precise picture as to who was better or worse, exactly. For example, Andrew McCutchen's triple in the eighth inning had an added WPA of exactly zero. What it does is take account for game situations and tell us who did great or terrible things in the higher leverage situations. The source material for this article is here.
First Hero: Pedro Alvarez
After last seasons' start, I didn't expect Alvarez to start producing for another week or so. He finished with a game high WPA of .226. He led off the second inning by breaking the seal on the scoreboard with a solo home run which counted for .125 of the win, adding another .110 when he led off the fourth inning with the second run (and second home run) of the game. After reaching on a fielders choice in the sixth, he stole second base and eventually scored his third run of the game on a Russell Martin single to center field, putting the Bucs up 4-2. He was intentionally walked in the seventh, and knocked in his third run of the game in the eighth with an RBI groundout which scored Andrew McCutchen for the final score of 12-2. Tales of El Toro's demise are greatly exaggerated. He had one assist in the field.
Second Hero: Matt Carpenter
Carpenter singled to right in the first and lined out in the third. With one out in the fifth, down 3-0 and a runner on base, he smacked a two-run home run to cut the lead to 3-2, an event which measured in at .171 wins. Although the Pirates eventually won by 10 runs, the situation that Carpenter came through in was the highest leverage play of the game. Carpenter also drew a walk in the seventh, and had a putout and two assists. He ended the game with a .204 WPA.
Third Hero: Russell Martin
Martin drew a walk in the second, but was erased in a double play before Pedro hit his first home run. He struck out swinging in the fourth inning, then hit an RBI single and scored in the sixth. He hit another RBI single in the seventh to bring the score to 7-2. He grounded out to shortstop for the third out of the eighth inning, and Pittsburgh's last plate appearance of the evening. He had five putouts and one assist on the night (and what an assist!) He clocked out with a .115 WPA.
Very Low Impact
Third Worst: Jhonny Peralta
Peralta had four putouts and two assists while at shortstop. At the plate, he grounded out, flew out, and struck out. The source of his low score occurred in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and two out, he flew out to right for an event score of -.099. He finished the night with a -.124 WPA.
Second Worst: Allen Craig
Craig went 0-for-4 on the night. He grounded out to first base to end the first inning, flew out to center field with two on and nobody out in the fourth, grounded out to the pitcher with a man on to end the fifth, and grounded out to shortstop in the eighth. He had one putout in right field. His -.140 WPA ranked him second to last.
First Worst (Fwirst): Shelby Miller
Miller took the hill and showed signs of struggle right from the start. He walked one batter in each of the first three innings, giving up a home run to Pedro Alvarez in the second and a triple to Starling Marte in the third. He then allowed two solo home runs in the fourth (to Alvarez and Ishikawa) before pitching a clean fifth. He came apart in the sixth inning, leaving with one out, two on, and his team down 3-2 (he would be responsible for two more runs before the book was closed on his night). He put up a -.237 WPA.
I hope you enjoyed Chapter Four of the season, and this recap. I had a little more time to put it together, it being the weekend and all. Next up, Joe Kelly takes the hill for St. Louis against Francisco Liriano.