The Giants are in town to begin a four-game series tonight at PNC Park with first pitch set for 7:05PM. The pitching matchup doesn’t exactly favor the Pirates as Madison Bumgarner will start for San Francisco while the Pirates counter with Jeff Locke.
The 44-26 Giants come into town riding an eight-game winning streak that has put them in the driver’s seat in the NL West, currently 6.5 games up on the Dodgers. So the Giants are on fire and the Pirates (33-36) are 1-9 in their last 10 games and have lost five games in a row, including just getting swept in Chicago. You couldn’t have a better matchup of two teams going in opposite directions.
Bumgarner’s been pretty good this season, sporting a 1.91 ERA and a 2.92 FIP. He’s striking out 10.9 batters per nine innings and has only allowed 71 hits in 94 innings. Tonight will be his 15th start of the 2016 campaign. The Bucs have done okay against him through five starts over the years with a 3.45 ERA, but doesn’t include the 2014 wildcard game when he buried the Pirates.
So while the Giants run a 1.91 Cy Young caliber pitcher out there tonight, the Pirates will send the owner of a 5.92 ERA to the mound in Locke. He’ll make his 14th start of the season and no matter what poorly Locke pitches, he just never seems to get booted from this rotation. After his CGSO against the Marlins on May 30 and then 7.0 strong innings against the Angels, Locke’s ERA sat at 4.28. Two starts later and 18 earned runs later, his ERA ballooned to 5.92. At this point, Locke just going six or seven innings would be a positive to help save this bullpen.
As for the lineup tonight, JHay stays in the two hole, Cutch is third, Freese in the cleanup and Polanco drops to 7th in the lineup with a lefty on the mound. Unfortunately, I don’t have much hope for this game being one to end the losing streak.
Pirates North Shore Nine