Today the Pittsburgh Pirates will host the Miami Marlins at 7:05. Pittsburgh (62-57) stands just 2 games back from the Wild Card while the Marlins (63-59) are currently 2.5 back.
After losing the lead last night after the 7th inning, the Pirates will try to get back on track when Chad Kuhl faces David Phelps. Pittsburgh is currently 7-3 in the last 10 while they have taken the last four series. Miami, however, is 4-6 in the last 10 and has won just one of the last four series played. With both teams in the thick of the Wild Card hunt, these next two days could play a major part in their paths.
David Phelps was a major part of the Marlins rotation this year, but has now been moved to their starting rotation. He owns a 2.48 ERA in 69 total innings, while he also holds a 1.90 ERA in the three starts he’s pitched. Phelps is having the best season of his career. the 29 year old owns a 4.03 career ERA and a major reason for his recent success is renewed fastball. This year alone he has seen an increase of 3 MPH to his fastball which has lead to his 11.22 K/9. Last season he only struck out 6.19 batters per nine innings. Phelps FIP and xFIP currently are at a 3.00 and 3.28.
Chad Kuhl has had a nice debut to the majors this year going 3-0 with a 3.73 ERA. The team has won all six games he has started included the last one where he faced a lefty loaded Dodgers lineup. In that game, Kuhl went 6 innings and allowed just two runs while striking out five. He held the Dodgers to just six baserunners as the Pirates won 11-3. Today’s Marlins lineup features just three lefties, which Kuhl has struggled mightily against this year, in Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, and Ichiro Suzuki.
Many of the Pirates are coming into this game hot over their last seven games. Starling Marte is batting .367/.406/.467 in the last seven games with three doubles and two stolen bases. Andrew McCutchen currently holds a .333/.455/.630 slash with two home runs and two stolen bases. Francisco Cervelli‘s line of .450/.593/.600 is very impressive but most importantly for him is the fact that he has hit .345/.435/.418 since he returned from his injury on July 19. Josh Harrison is slashing .310/.333/.379 with two doubles and two stolen bases. Even John Jaso has slashed .333/.529/.500 in the last seven games he has played in.
As many people are aware, the Marlins are without their big slugger Giancarlo Stanton. With Justin Bour also sidelined, the Marlins have lost a lot of thump in their lineup. Replacing these two players today will be Ichiro Suzuki and rookie Xavier Scruggs.