The Pirates have their first of only two split squad days this spring today as half of the team will travel to Fort Myers to face the Twins and half will stay in Bradenton to host the Braves. Both games are set for 1:05PM. The Bucs are 5-12-1 in Grapefruit League action.
Opening Day starter Francisco Liriano will start against the Braves with relievers Trey Haley, Eric O’Flaherty and Jorge Rondon scheduled to pitch as well. Meanwhile Juan Nicasio, fresh off his stunning 10-strikeout performance against the Orioles last week, will start against the Twins. After Nicasio, Neftali Feliz and Jim Fuller will pitch as well. Nicasio looks to continue his spectacular spring and make his bid for the rotation as he’s yet to allow a run in 10.0 innings of work with a crazy 16 strikeouts and just five hits allowed.
Ryan of the North Shore Nine will be in Fort Myers for the Twins game, so follow along via Twitter @northshorenine for my updates and pictures of the game. The Pirates-Twins game on Saturday was rained out, but today should be sunny and cool for Florida with a high of 64 degrees.
The Twins will start Kyle Gibson against the Bucs today. The former first round pick from 2009 is coming off his best season in the Majors with a 3.84 ERA in 32 starts at the age of 27. It took him a little while to get going, but he’s healthy and has provided the Twins with solid innings the past two seasons.
Back in Bradenton, the Braves will start Jhoulys Chacin, who’s currently fighting for a spot in the rotation this spring. Chacin has allowed three runs in 8.0 innings this month.
The Pirates will be splitting up the dynamic duo of Jaso and McCutchen today as Jaso will lead off in Fort Myers and McCutchen will bat second back in Bradenton.
Pirates lineup vs. Twins
SP—RHP Juan Nicasio
Pirates lineup vs. Braves
SP—LHP Francisco Liriano