The Pirates and Giants have a quick turnaround today with an afternoon game set for 12:35PM from PNC Park today for the finale of a four-game series.
The Giants have won two-out-three so far so the Pirates would love to split the series before the Giants leave town.
Jon Niese will make his 15th start of the season for Pittsburgh and first against the Giants in 2016. Niese has a 4.74 ERA, but a 5.56 FIP and he’s actually been one of the Pirates better starters, which isn’t saying much at all. Niese is allowing 10.1 hits per nine (92 hits in 81.2 IP) and almost two home runs per nine innings as well. It’s ugly, but there’s nothing else to say, the Pirates need a victory to get anything going. Niese going at least six or seven would help keep the bad arms in the bullpen away and be a start.
The Pirates will face rookie RHP Albert Suarez for the first time. Suarez is a 26-year-old native of Venezuela that is making his 10th appearance and fourth start of the season. He’s 2-1 with a 3.69 ERA and a 4.13 FIP in 31.2 major league innings. He doesn’t strike out many (4.8 K/9 this season) and just 5.9 K/9 in his minor league career. The Pirates should hit Suarez this afternoon, but as we’ve learned this month, none of that matters if you don’t get solid pitching. This team could have a 15-0 lead and we’d still sweat it out watching the bullpen give up runs.
Jaso and JHay will are at the top of the order today while McCutchen gets a much needed day off. Marte is also out with his foot injury. Gregory Polanco gets his first start of the season at CF and just his third appearance there in 2016.
Pirates North Shore Nine