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Ten Positives for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021 – No. 5: A Pair of All-Star Starters

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For the first time since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates had two players in the starting lineup of the All-Star game for the National League as manager Dave Roberts penciled in Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier for the senior circuit. Reynolds started in center field in place of the injured Ronald Acuña Jr and batted eighth and Frazier was voted in as the starting second baseman and batted ninth.

Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke were the two starters for the Pirates in 1992 and batted third and sixth respectively. That year was the year Bonds won the second of his all-time record seven Most Valuable Player awards. The Pirates went 96-66 that year and won the National League East – the last time they won a division title.

Things were much different for the Pirates this season as the Pirates posted a 61-101 record and a 34-56 mark at the All-Star break. Nevertheless, the Pirates still managed two starters in the game, joining the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds as the only teams with multiple starters in the Midsummer Classic.

At the break, Reynolds was batting .302 with a .906 OPS, 16 homers and 51 RBIs. He ranked in the Top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, hits and doubles. For Frazier, he led the National League in hits (115), and was second in in batting average (.330) and tied for second with 26 doubles.

Reynolds went on to have his best season as a Major Leaguer, finishing the year with a .302 average and a .912 OPS. He slugged 24 home runs, drove in 90 runs and was tied for the Major League lead with eight triples. The performance will likely be worthy of some MVP votes when the award results are released in November.

For Frazier, he did not last much longer in Pittsburgh after the Pirates traded him to the San Diego Padres in a four-player swap on July 26. As a Padre, Frazier didn’t have the same success he did in Pittsburgh prior to the trade as he hit .267 with a .662 OPS after being acquired by the Friars.

The American League went on to defeat the National League in the game 5-2. Frazier had a base hit and made a couple of nice plays in the field in the game. Reynolds didn’t reach base in his two plate appearances.

Who knows the next time that Pittsburgh will have two starters in the All-Star Game, but in a year where plenty went wrong for the Pirates, seeing both Reynolds and Frazier in the starting lineup for the Midsummer Classic at Coors Field was a definite bright spot for the team and the fans.

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