Well now that the Pirates are officially eliminated from playoff contention, we can focus on baseball and the players that will be on the field in 2017. Players that aren’t Ryan Vogelsong. Players, for instance, like Jameson Taillon.
Taillon burst on the scene this year after missing the past two seasons and lit it up at Triple-A Indianapolis with a 2.04 ERA in 10 starts and 61.2 innings. Taillon got the call, made his debut and has been solid since. Through 17 starts in the Majors, he’s 4-4 with a 3.49 ERA and 3.60 FIP in 98 innings. He’s posted a 7.4 K/9 with a minuscule 1.3 BB/9 this season. This will be his final start of 2016 and will put his total innings over 160. With a 30 percent increase in innings in 2017, Taillon will be right at the 200-inning mark, which is good news for the Pirates. Taillon is a big part of the Pirates rotation in 2017 and they’ll need Taillon for 200 innings. Taillon has faced the Cubs once this year and did not do well…then again who has this season?
The Pirates (77-80) will face Cubs RHP and old nemesis Jake Arrieta in his final tune-up before the postseason. His ERA is an entire run higher from last season, but he’s still having a stellar year with an 18-7 record, 2.85 ERA (3.45 FIP). The last two times the Pirates have faced Arrieta this season, they scored 12 runs off him in 12 innings. The Bucs will hope for the same tonight to smack Arrieta around to close his regular season on a sour note.
It’s the second to last game at PNC Park tonight and the North Shore Nine is a doozy for this contest. Eric Fryer gets his 20th start of the season for the Bucs to catch Taillon as Josh Bell will be in RF for his 11th start while Rodriguez starts at short, David Freese at third and John Jaso at first base. Matt Joyce gets the start and bats fourth as he brings his .350/.391/.600 career slash line against Arrieta into this game. And Andrew McCutchen continues his late season surge with a .303/.393/.566 line in September that includes six doubles, one triple and six home runs. It’s easily the best month of the season for Cutch.
Pirates North Shore Nine