Starling Marte’s sudden success at plate for Pirates all part of plan |

Starling Marte’s sudden success at plate for Pirates all part of plan

Kevin Gorman
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates center fielder Starling Marte singles against the Braves Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates center fielder Starling Marte steals second base next to the Braves’ Dansby Swanson Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at PNC Park.

Starling Marte’s sudden hitting surge might coincide with his drop to the third spot in the batting order, but the Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder isn’t crediting that switch for his success.

Instead, it’s a behind-the-scenes move.

“What’s working out for me is working with the hitting coach and going to the plate with a plan,” Marte said Thursday through interpreter Mike Gonzalez, referring to Pirates hitting coaches Rick Eckstein and Jacob Cruz. “I’m going up with a way more aggressive mentality. I’m going up there to get on base.”

After slashing .253/.296/.447 in 34 games batting second this season, Marte is slashing .375/.426/.536 in the 13 games since Clint Hurdle moved him from second to third in the lineup May 25. That includes seven multihit games, with Marte getting four in 13 innings against Milwaukee and three against the Dodgers, Brewers and Braves. Marte has three doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs, as well as a pair of stolen bases in that stretch.

“You see he’s stealing bases every day. He’s playing hard and getting three hits every day,” Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco said. “I love watching him play. He’s so much fun to watch.”

That’s especially true from the base paths, as rookie outfielder Bryan Reynolds is learning. Since Reynolds took over the No. 2 spot in the order, he has found being on the bases with Marte at bat can be as strenuous as it is enjoyable.

“I know I’m going to have to run hard,” Reynolds said, “because he’s going to hit it in the gaps.”

Marte also credited the cohesion with Polanco and Reynolds for his spike.

“There’s definitely a connection,” Marte said. “It rises from the communication. We are constantly communicating with each other, talking after each at-bat about what we saw so we’re better equipped and better prepared.”

It’s all part of his plan to attack pitchers from the plate.

Love baseball? Stay up-to-date with the latest Pittsburgh Pirates news.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pirates
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.