Game 44: Diamondbacks in the Burgh

The 24-19 Pittsburgh Pirates will welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to PNC Park tonight at 7:05PM for a three-game series to conclude their three-team homestand. This will be the D-Backs only trip to PNC and the last regular season series between the two squads in 2016. The Pirates took two-of-three from Arizona back in April in the desert.

The Diamondbacks spent a lot of money this offseason, mostly on stud pitcher Zack Greinke, but so far the results haven’t shown on the field as they sit at 21-25 and fourth place in the NL West. They acquired Shelby Miller in a ridiculous trade with Atlanta and Miller has been awful to date. He’ll be on the mound tonight against the Bucs top offense and sports a 1-5 record and hefty 6.64 ERA (6.53 FIP) in nine starts this season. He’s given up 48 hits in 40 innings and is walking 5.5 runners per nine. That’s not good. As bad as the trade was, Miller is not this bad of a pitcher. He’ll turn it around at some point, but let’s hope it’s not tonight. The good news is the Pirates will miss facing Greinke this season, who’s been heating up recently.

The Bucs have the top offense in the NL as far as AVG and OBP is concerned, but the Diamondbacks are one of the best offenses as well. They’re first in the NL in hits and also leads with 19 triples. Despite Paul Goldschmidt‘s .242 average, he has eight home runs with a .412 OBP. He has walked 43 times in 45 games. The whole lineup can hit it over the fence, including offseason pickup Jean Segura, who has five home runs and slashing .321/.348/.484 at the top of Arizona’s order. Yasmany Tomas is having a breakout kind of season with a .286/.348/.464 slash line, Jake Lamb can hit it out of the park and catcher Wellington Castillo even has seven home runs. Utilityman Brandon Drury (isn’t he a hockey player) has been a big surprise for the D-Backs and has a 126 OPS+ with seven home runs in 155 plate appearances. Tonight’s starter Francisco Liriano and the Bucs arms will need to keep the ball on the ground against this lineup.

In a minor transaction today, Ryan Vogelsong hit the 15-day DL with facial fractures after his scaring HBP in the face yesterday. To fill the roster spot, the Pirates recalled A.J. Schugel from Triple-A Indy. Schugel has a 4.96 ERA in 16.1 innings of relief with the Bucs this season, but owns a 3.30 FIP.

Here’s the Bucs lineup tonight:
Jaso 1B
McCutchen CF
Polanco RF
Kang 3B
Marte LF
Harrison 2B
Mercer SS
Stewart C
Liriano P


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