I think it’s for the Pittsburgh Pirates to start that winning streak that will put them back in the driver seat’s of the wildcard spot. This week against the Padres is the perfect time to start that streak.
The Padres will roll with rookie RHP Luis Perdomo tonight at PNC Park. Perdomo has been, for a lack of a better word, terrible this season. He’s posted a 6.67 ERA (4.72 FIP) in 89 innings this season with an absurd 13.0 hits per nine innings. As a starter this season, he has a 5.46 ERA through 11 starts. However, since July 4, Perdomo has improved and been much more effective as a starter with a 4.00 ERA, including three quality starts. The Dominican native tossed one scoreless inning of relief against the Pirates back in April in San Diego.
The Pirates face Perdomo, Edwin Jackson (5.00 ERA) and Christian Friedrich (4.76 ERA) in this series. If the offense doesn’t break out of their slump this week, they might not this season. When I think Padres late in season at PNC, I think back to the 2011 season when the Pirates went 0-7 on that homestand against the Cubs and Padres in August. They were above .500 at the start of the homestand and then weren’t again that season as they finished off the collapse that year. Let’s hope the Padres don’t pull off the same magic here as this is a huge series if the Pirates plan on making a run at some point.
Chad Kuhl returns to the Pirates rotation for his first start since July 17 when he blanked the Nationals through six innings of work with one hit allowed. Overall in those four starts, Kuhl is 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA (4.06 FIP). In his two outings at Triple-A Indy since that July 17 start, Kuhl didn’t allow an earned run. Tonight is a big opportunity for Kuhl to make a case for this wide open rotation and stick in Pittsburgh the rest of the season.
Gregory Polanco is back in the lineup tonight after a few days off and relegated to just pinch-hitting duties this past weekend. Polanco is putting together the best season of his career with a .282/.357/.496 slash line and tied for the team lead in home runs with 15. Hurdle continues to roll with Josh Harrison in the leadoff role while John Jaso continues to play, but at least David Freese is starting over struggling Jung Ho Kang.
Pirates North Shore Nine