It’s an exciting day for Pirate’s fans today! Today marks the day that third baseman, Jung Ho Kang, returns to baseball after a horrific knee injury last September. We all know the story of what happened, but the rehab process was something of uncertainty. Shortly into the 2016 season, it was reported that Kang was well ahead of schedule and making great progress. Though he still would start off the year on the disabled list, the fact that he is returning to the majors in early May is definitely a win for the player and team.
Oh, and I guess there is actually a game being played tonight, too, we should discuss. Pittsburgh will face the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Francisco Liriano is set to make the first pitch at 8:15 PM. Both teams enter this series with 15 wins a piece.
Its been a disappointing week for the Pirates and their fans. After winning six games in a row, Pittsburgh has now lost the last four. The Cardinals aren’t playing with much success either, as they have lost five out of their last eight games. All of that information will go out of the window tonight since these two clubs always seem to battle it out.
Liriano takes the mound with a 3.86 ERA and coming off of his second most effective start of the season. His most effective start was this years Opening Day when he blanked the Cardinals. Frankie has had a ton of success while facing the Red Birds and owns a 2.40 lifetime ERA in 82.2 innings. As a matter of fact, he actually performs even better when he pitches at Busch Stadium. There, he holds a 1.97 ERA and will look to continue this dominant streak. The win still won’t come so easy thanks in part to the pitcher on the opposing side.
Carlos Martinez has shown he is every bit of an ‘Ace’ pitcher since his first full season in the majors last year. He rocked a 3.26 ERA then, and has followed up pitching to a 2.60 ERA this year. Martinez brings the heat with a 96 MPH fastball and an extremely effective slider. He will also mix in a change up and a cutter. While the Pirates are second in the majors in hits, Martinez is only allowing six hits per nine innings.
As mentioned, Kang will be activated for today’s game and will make his 2016 debut playing third base while batting sixth. In other exciting news, Gregory Polanco will be returning to the top of the order and batting third. I feel this is a great move and well timed as Polanco has proven himself to be a greatly improved batter. Not only has he been much more patient his year, which has been proven with his 19 walks on the season, but he is also swinging at better pitches and driving the ball. His isolated power is almost an entire 100 points higher than his career average, but don’t tell that to @buccomike. As long as Polanco can keep producing at this similar pace, batting third could be a mainstay for this young Bucco.
- Jaso 1B
- McCutchen CF
- Polanco RF
- Marte LF
- Cervelli C
- Kang 3B
- Harrison 2B
- Mercer SS
- Liriano P