Game 66: Rubber Match

The Pirates need a win tonight to win the series in New York against the Mets and they’re relying on Juan Nicasio to do it.

Nicasio is probably winding down as a starting member of the Pirates rotation considering his 5.34 ERA and 4.41 FIP. He’s been anything but great after his stellar spring training that forced the Pirates decision to place him in the rotation on the Opening Day roster. He’s been a slow worker, tries to strike everyone out and usually struggles because of this kind of pitching with 3.8 walks per nine innings.

The Buccos face old man Bartolo Colon tonight in the rubber match. The 43-year-old righthander will make his 480th start of his career tonight versus the Pirates. Colon seems to be pitching better as he ages. On the year, he’s 5-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 73 innings of work this season. Of course Colon pitches even better against the Bucs. Through eight starts, Colon is 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA, including one complete game shutout. The Bucs will need to be better against Colon tonight to win the series.

As for the lineup, Harrison leads off tonight for just the fourth time this season. Marte gets the day off after getting a ball in the face on one hop while trying to make a catch in last night’s game. Erik Kratz starts his second straight game at catcher and Freese gets the start at first base. Cutch is batting third in the lineup for the second consecutive game and hasn’t homered in 17 games and hitting just .167/.225/.197 in that stretch.

Here’s the Pirates lineup tonight:

Harrison 2B
Polanco RF
Cutch CF
Kang 3B
Freese 1B
Joyce LF
Mercer SS
Kratz C
Nicasio P

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