Tonight, the Pittsburgh Pirates will look to continue their hot streak in their second game of this weekend series verse the Texas Rangers. Pittsburgh has won five games in a row and 10 in the last 12. They currently sit 4.5 game behind the Cubs in the division and are tied with the Mets and Nationals for the last wild card spot, though obviously both of them cannot hold together once their division tie is broke.
Pittsburgh entered this interleague matchup very hot and didn’t lose any steam when they face Texas’ Ace, Cole Hamels. They broke off six runs against him in just 4.2 innings pitched and then scored three more runs to end the game. Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang, Andrew McCutchen, and Gregory Polanco we all able to take the ball out of the ball park for a home run. Tonight, they will look to continue this torrid streak against Yu Darvish as he makes his season debut coming off of Tommy John Surgery.
Darvish has been out of baseball for 22 months as he’s been rehabbing after Tommy John. It has been a long comeback, much like our very own Jameson Taillon, and Darvish has been dominating the minors during his rehab as well. In just five starts, he has pitched 20 innings to a .90 ERA and 21 strikeouts. When healthy, he defines every sense of the word ‘Ace’. Since coming over from Japan, he has pitched 545 innings while striking 680 batters and generating a 3.27 ERA. He has a TON of pitches in his arsenal that he isn’t afraid to go to, which is also what makes him so dangerous. He tops out at 98 MPH with his fastball, but typically sits around 92-93 MPH.
Juan Nicasio is going to make his ninth start of the year tonight against the Rangers. It has been a mixed bag of results this season for the righty. He owns a 4.46 ERA, and has not had a quality start since April 29. With the power potential the Rangers present, this will be a major test to Nicasio and the Pirates to keep their streak alive. Nicasio has only made it past 6 full innings once, so the bullpen is going to play a big part in tonight’s matchup.
With that being said, Tony Watson is expected to be back for tonights game from Paternity leave. He and his wife, Cassie, welcomed their new born child on Wednesday. If Watson does in fact return, Pittsburgh’s bullpen should be all hands on deck with the remaining being rested after last nights victory.
- Jaso 1B
- McCutchen CF
- Polanco RF
- Freese 3B
- Marte LF
- Cervelli C
- Joyce DH
- Mercer SS
- Figueroa 2B