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PBN Three Stars of the Week

Pittsburgh Pirates Three Stars of the Week Sep. 20-26

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The Pirates played six games over the course of their road trip this week and the stretch did not go the way the Pirates would have liked. Not only did one game get postponed due to rain, but the Pirates went just 2-4 combined against the Reds and Phillies. The previous two weeks, the Pirates posted winning records but the Bucs couldn’t keep up their momentum as well against two teams fighting for the postseason.

It was tough to narrow this week’s top performers down to three, as both Ben Gamel and Yoshi Tsutsugo had good weeks at the plate but ultimately fell short of cracking the three stars. Here are the three guys who made the cut.

Third Star: Max Kranick 5ip, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K (one start)

With the Pirates staring a four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies, Pittsburgh turned to Kranick to be the team’s stopper and put the Pirates in a position to get out of Philadelphia with a victory. Kranick did that and more as he blanked the Phillies’ offense that combined to score 23 runs in the first three games of the series against Pirates’ pitching. Although Kranick struggled a bit with command at times on Sunday, he kept the Phillies off the scoreboard in what was his best start since his five perfect innings against St. Louis in his debut.

Second Star: Cole Tucker .263/.364/.421 5 for 19, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 4 R, 6 games

Tucker continued to stay hot and again showed his versatility appearing at shortstop, second base and right field in his six games played. Tucker showed patience and got on base at a good clip, and flashed some power by blasting his first homer of the year on the first pitch of Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.

The final stretch is going to be an important one for Tucker as he looks to try and secure a roster spot with the Pirates heading into 2022. If he keeps playing the way he has of late, he will put the Pirates in an interesting position on where his status stands heading into next season.

First Star: Ke’Bryan Hayes .350/.350/.550 7 for 20, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, 2 SB, 5 games

Hayes entered the week hot in terms of hitting for average, but for the first time in a while Hayes was able to do damage by hitting for power. He hit an opposite-field home run against the Phillies on Thursday, his first since Aug. 8, and delivered a clutch pinch-hit double that plated a pair on Sunday.

Hayes has started to look like the player he did last year when he was called up by the Pirates in September and seems to have found a home as the Pirates’ lead off hitter.

The Pirates enter their final week of play with a full slate. They have a makeup game against the Reds Monday afternoon at 1:10, followed by six home games – three with the Cubs and three more with Cincinnati. Check back next week to see the Pirates’ best performers in the final edition of Three Stars of the Week for the 2021 season.

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