Series Preview: Pirates @ Cubs

Series Preview: Pirates @ Cubs


Photo: Arturo Pardavila III

Pittsburgh Pirates (40-46) @ Chicago Cubs (42-43)


Eddie Butler (4-3, 4.18 ERA) vs Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.67 ERA)

Time: Friday – 2:20


The Pirates are on a 3 game winning streak entering their final series before the All Star break. Yesterday the Cubs got massacred by the Brewers. The Cubs starter lasted just 2.1 innings which put a lot of stress on the bullpen. Jon Jay, the Cubs center fielder, even made a relief appearance last night.

Eddie Butler is not good. He’s almost walking as many as he’s striking out. With the Cubs fatigued bullpen, getting to Butler early could be huge. Chad Kuhl hasn’t lasted deep into games this year. But Eddie Butler has been worse, averaging just 4.7 innings per start. In his last start against the Pirates, Butler gave up a home run and a triple to Josh Bell.

Trevor Williams has 3 straight quality starts. He doesn’t have 4 straight quality starts because 4 starts ago the Cubs forced him out of the game before he could go 6 innings. I started as a Williams skeptic, but I have become a Williams believer. He looks like a solid pitcher, and now that he’s starting to get swings and misses, he could be a nice starter for the Pirates.

According to Bovada, the Pirates are underdogs in this one.



Jake Arrieta (8-6, 4.33 ERA) vs Ivan Nova (8-6, 3.24 ERA)

Time: Saturday – 7:15


Jake Arrieta has a 4.03 ERA over his last 30 starts. He has struggled

Ivan Nova has a 3.27 ERA over his last 30 starts. He has not struggled. Since May, Nova’s ERA is 4.04. He hasn’t been as good and that’s partly due to him owing a 12.0 K% since then. He will need to see an increase in strikeouts if he wants to keep that ERA in the low to mid 3s.



Jon Lester (5-5, 3.94 ERA) vs Jameson Taillon (5-2, 2.73 ERA)

Time: Sunday – 1:10


Even though Lester has a 3.94 ERA, he has been their best starting pitcher this season. Lester is a lefty and the Pirates match up well against him. Over his career, the Pirates are hitting .264/.340/.404 against Lester. Those numbers suggest that this game is very winnable, especially with…

Jameson Taillon is on the mound for the Pirates in the 1st half finale. His 2.73 ERA is the 7th best for starting pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched this year. Once again, the Pirates will be underdogs in this one. But you have to feel confident with Taillon on the mound at this point.

The Pirates are not expected to win this series. But that doesn’t matter. The Pirates need to win this series.




Who’s Hot?


Cubs: Willson Contreras – Last 14 days .308/.400/.641, 4 HR, 23.9 K%, 13.0 BB%

Pirates –  Andrew McCutchen is obvious, but other than that… The Pirates bullpen has given up just 3 earned runs over their last 19 IP. Suddenly, Watson and Hudson look like they are capable of getting outs.



Who’s Not?

Rays: Addison Russell – Last 14 days .219/.286/.250 0 HR, 31.4 K%, 5.7 BB%

Pirates: Adam Frazier – Last 30 days .211/.283/.289 0 HR, 14.1 K%, 8.1 BB%



Bandage Crew

Rays: Brett Anderson (60 Day, Strained lower back), Kyle Hendricks (10 Day, Hand tendinitis), John Lackey (10 Day, Plantar fascitis)

Pirates: Completely healthy


Series Preview: Rays @ Pirates

Series Preview: Rays @ Pirates


Photo: Keith Allison

Tampa Bay Rays (40-38) @ Pittsburgh Pirates(35-41)


Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05 ERA) vs Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.09 ERA)

Time: Tuesday – 7:05


The Pirates went 5-5 during their stretch of games against the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals. They are now 5.0 games behind the Brewers, and have a 4.7% chance to make the playoffs according to Fangraphs. Antonio Bastardo’s rehab time is up, and it appears as though he is on his way back up with Jacob Stallings being demoted.

Alex Cobb will get to pitch in game one of the series. Cobb only logged 22 innings last year for the Rays after underdoing Tommy John surgery in 2015. Since his return, his K% has fallen to 16.5 after being at 21.9 in 2014. This is probably due to him throwing his most prized pitch, his changeup, less often. He has gone to his knuckle curve more often, and his changeup less. Here is a good write up on what has happened with Cobb this year.

Trevor Williams has not had an easy time striking guys out this year, but he has limited hard contact. Over his last two starts he has had swing and miss stuff. The strikeouts didn’t show up against Chicago, but he managed to get an 11.8 swinging strike percentage. And then in his last start against Milwaukee, he hit a season hit 16.7 swinging strike rate. If he can manage to keep getting swinging strikes, Williams may become a solid #5 starter after all.

Vegas thinks this game could go either way. The Rays and Pirates have the same odds, and the total currently sits at 9 runs.



Blake Snell (0-4, 4.71 ERA) vs Ivan Nova (7-5, 3.06 ERA)

Time: Wednesday – 7:05


Between 2015 and 2016, Blake Snell dominated AAA with a 2.68 ERA that came with a 33.3 K%. That also came with a not so good 9.3 BB%. He was promoted to the bigs in 2016, despite command issues, and to date has a 3.92 ERA with a 22.4 K% and a 12.9 B%. There are certainly some similarities to Glasnow here. Both dominated AAA with little command and manged to get away with it. Snell has done better than Glasnow. Snell’s career 3.92 ERA is not Glasnow’s 6.49 ERA. But Snell is also a year older. When you watch Snell pitch, whether he does good or bad, you should be reminded that all hope is not lost with Glasnow as others have made it out of AAA alive with little command.

Nova continues to be a mystery for me. On the year, he has a low 3.06 ERA. But since May his ERA is 3.90. Both numbers are good enough to make you one of Pittsburghs top starters, but the 3.90 is obviously less enjoyable. He has walked 4 batters over his last 2 games and has hit a batter. It’s hard to complain about only 4 walks, but its certainly not something you see from Nova often. Over his career, Longoria has crushed Nova hitting .289 with 3 HR in 38 AB. Nova certainly appears to be a different pitcher, so hopefully he can limit the damage.



Chris Archer (6-4, 3.88 ERA) vs Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.33 ERA)

Time: Thursday – 7:05


The series finale will be Archer vs Taillon. Archer is striking out nearly 30% of the batters he has faced this year and should be a real test for the Pirates. The Pirates current roster has the 2nd lowest K% in baseball, so this one should be an interesting matchup.

Taillon will get to face Archer in the toughest matchup of the series. However, after what Taillon has dealt with throughout his career, this one should be nothing for him. Look for him to give the Pirates exactly what they need on Thursday.

The Pirates are slight favorites to win this series.



Who’s Hot?


Rays: Logan Morrison – Last 14 days .333/.440/.786, 5 HR, 16.0 K%, 16.0 BB%

Pirates – Andrew McCutchen – Last 14 days .356/.453/.711, 5 HR, 9.4 K%, 15.1 BB%



Who’s Not?

Rays: Alex Colome – Last 2 appearances 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 21.4 K%, 14.3 BB%

Pirates: Gregory Polanco – Last 14 days .204/.235/.347, 2 HR, 15.7 K%, 3.9 BB%



Bandage Crew

Rays: Rickie Weeks Jr. (10 Day, Shoulder impingement), Brad Miller (10 Day, Strained groin), Adeiny Hechavarria (10 Day, Strained oblique), Kevin Kiermaier (10 Day, Fractured hip), Colby Rasmus (10 Day, Hip tendinitis), Matt Duffy (60 Day, Heel surgery), Matt Andriese (10 Day, Stress reaction in hip), Nathan Eovaldi (60 Day, TJ/flexor tendon surgery), Brad Boxberger (10 Day, Flexor strain), Xavier Cedeño (60 Day, Forearm tightness), Kevin Gadea (60 Day, Elbow tendinitis), Diego Moreno (60 Day, Shoulder bursitis), Shawn Tolleson (60 Day, Tommy John surgery)

Pirates: Francisco Cervelli (7 Day, Post Concussion Syndrome)


Series Preview: Pirates @ Cardinals


Photo: Robert Engberg

Pittsburgh Pirates (33-40) @ St Louis Cardinals (33-38)


Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.38 ERA) vs Adam Wainwright (7-5, 5.75 ERA)

Time: Friday – 8:15


The Pirates won the first two games in the four game series against Milwaukee, outscoring them 15-4. It appeared as though the Pirates were about to pick up some ground in the division. But then the inevitable happened, they let us all down. The Pirates have failed to pick up any games against the first place Brewers and second place Cubs. It would be great if they could pick up a game against the third place Cardinals.

Game one of the series will be the best time for the Pirates to do that, as Wainwright has struggled quite a bit since the start of 2016. The only pitcher with an ERA worse than Wainwrights since the beginning of 2016 is former Pirate Edinson Volquez (minimum 250 IP). He’s throwing first pitch strikes less and getting fewer swinging strikes. At 35, it’s hard to imagine he will bounce back.

Taillon wasn’t so good last time out, but it was just his second start back from having surgery. The Cardinals have less punch in their offense than the Cubs do, so hopefully Taillon can get back on track.

The Cardinals are slight favorites to win this one, but will have to do so with Yadier Molina as he was a late scratch with knee soreness.




Gerrit Cole (5-6, 4.28 ERA) vs Lance Lynn (5-4, 3.33 ERA)

Time: Saturday– 7:15


Lance Lynn underwent Tommy John surgery which forced him to miss most of the 2016 season. In his first full year back, he’s posted an ERA in the low 3’s. However, his FIP and xFIP are a run and a half higher suggesting that Lynn is due for some regression. Josh Harrison has been very good against Lynn throughout his career, batting .348 over 23 AB.

Gerrit Cole’s last 2 starts have been much like his first 9. Pitching 7 innings and giving up just 1 run in each game is exactly what this team needed, and still needs, so hopefully he can give the Pirates another quality start. My last post featured Gerrit Cole. He’s struggling when he fails to get a first pitch strike.



Chad Kuhl (2-6, 5.46 ERA) vs Mike Leake (5-6, 3.03 ERA)

Time: Sunday – 8:00 (ESPN)


Mike Leake’s ERA has gone from 4.69 to 3.03 in his second year with the Cardinals. However, nothing else has changed. His FIP and xFIP have remained around 3.70, his pitch usage has remained the same, and his home run rate has remained the same. Leake is a fine pitcher, but he’s not a 3.03 ERA pitcher. David Freese has crushed Mike Leake throughout his career, going 16-31 against him. Hopefully, for this one game, he turns into a 9 ERA pitcher because….

… Chad Kuhl is pitching the series finale. Unless the Cardinals make a roster move by Sunday, they will only be able to have 3 lefties in the lineup facing him. Kuhl’s struggles against lefties have been well documented, but his main issue is lack of command. Sure, lefties beat him up. And hopefully Kuhl can do well against a right handed heavy lineup. But he won’t be able to take the next step without improved command or throwing his slider more often.



Who’s Hot?

Pirates: Andrew McCutchen – Last 30 days .396/.486/.736, 8 HR, 14.7 K%, 16.5 BB%

Cardinals: Dexter Fowler – Last 30 days .300/.386/.570, 7 HR, 18.4 K%, 12.3 BB%



Who’s Not?

Pirates: David Freese – Last 7 days .182/.308/.182, 26.9 K%, 11.5 BB%

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright – Last 3 starts 10.1 IP, 20 ER, 12.1 K%, 10.3 BB%



Bandage Crew

Pirates: Francisco Cervelli (7 Day, Post Concussion Syndrome), Antonio Bastardo (10 Day, Strained quad), Josh Lindblom (10 Day, Side discomfort)

Cardinals: Kolten Wong (10 Day Strained triceps), Zach Duke (60 Day, Tommy John surgery)

Series Preview: Pirates @ Brewers

Series Preview: Pirates @ Brewers


Photo: pcutler

Pittsburgh Pirates (31-38) @ Milwaukee Brewers (30-36)


Gerrit Cole (4-6, 4.54 ERA) vs Matt Garza (3-2, 4.17 ERA)

Time: Monday – 7:40


The Pirates managed win 1 game against the Cubs, but it sure feels like they got swept. In the series opener, the Pirates managed to blow a 4-3 lead in the 9th inning in spectacular fashion. They are still 6.0 games back, which is certainly manageable. But this 4 game series against Milwaukee is a very important one. A sweep, or even a series loss would be disastrous for the Pirates.

Fortunately, the Pirates have a favorable matchup in game one. Since 2015, Matt Garza has managed to pitch exactly 300 innings to go along with a 5.01 ERA. There are only two pitchers with worse ERA’s over that period. One of those pitchers can barely throw above 80 mph (Jered Weaver) and the other was in AAA for a good portion of this season (Anibal Sanchez). Garza is a bit of a psychopath. If you don’t believe me, see below:



Gerrit Cole has had a rough season. The home run ball has plagued him quite a bit, and Milwaukee certainly favors home run hitters. Gerrit will get to avoid Braun, but he will have to face some new faced in Travis Shaw and Eric Thames. Thames has already managed to hit 20 home runs this season, and the Brewers have 5 players in tonights lineup with double digit home run totals.

The Pirates are favorites in this one, but Vegas expects this one to be high scoring. Hopefully only one team scores a lot of runs, because another bad Gerrit Cole outing is not what anyone wants to see.



Chad Kuhl (1-6, 5.61 ERA) vs Zach Davies (7-3, 4.91 ERA)

Time: Tuesday – 7:40


Zach Davies may have an ERA in the high 4’s this year, but he’s only 24 years old. Last season as a 23 year old, he managed a respectable 3.97 ERA over 163.1 innings. Given that velocity is the coolest thing around the league, it’s a little surprising to see a young pitcher that doesn’t throw hard. In fact, he averages less than 90 mph on his fastball. Because of his lack of velocity, the reason he is a major league pitcher is because of his plus command and plus changeup. So far this year, both have regressed, at least by the numbers. His walk rate has increased and opposing batters have a .344 wOBA against his changeup this year compared to just a .264 wOBA last year. Davies has struggled mightily against the Pirates. Most notably, Josh Harrison is 4-4 against him with a walk. The only Pirate with at least 1 AB against Davies that is hitless is the Pirates current hottest hitter, Jordy Mercer.

Chad Kuhl is quite a bit different than Zach Davies. His struggles have come from a lack of command paired with no changeup. His fastball velocity is ranked the 10th highest in the league for starting pitchers. When I wrote about him breaking out, I mentioned his slider needs to be used more, especially against lefties. Well, he has now added a curveball to his repertoire and used his slider even less. It’s still early, but the results have been…. about the same. The sample is quite small, and with Glasnow being demoted and Williams now struggling, it seems like the Pirates are willing to let him figure things out.



Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.16 ERA) vs Junior Guerra (1-1, 2.84 ERA)

Time: Wednesday – 8:10


Junior Guerra posted a 2.81 ERA last season as a rookie. He didn’t get much hype, especially for a rookie. He probably didn’t get much hype because people don’t usually care about 31 year old rookies. He’s nearly repeated his last season ERA exactly, however he’s doing it in a much different way. His strikeout rate has dropped from 20.3% to 15.6%. His walk rate has increased from 8.7% to 12.6%. Usually, when you strikeout less people and walk more, your ERA goes up. That hasn’t been the case (so far) for Guerra. All signs point to Guerra being the owner of a much higher ERA. Hopefully the Pirates can assist him in finding his true destiny. Guerra has dominated the Pirates so far though. The Pirates are 7-53 against him and Guerra. Cervelli, Bell, Harrison, Jaso, and Polanco are all hitless against Guerra, combined going for 0-30

Glasnow’s demotion signaled the Pirates were comfortable with Williams as a major league starter. Personally, I am not a fan of him long term. However, he is clearly better than Glasnow is right now. Williams now has 44.2 IP as a starting pitcher and has a bad 5.24 ERA to go with it. If you narrow it down to his starts this year, his ERA becomes 5.09. If you narrow that down to his starts this year except his first one, he has a 4.06 ERA. If you narrow it down to his last 2 starts, he has an 8.00 ERA. Which one of these is fair to use? Probably none of them. Only 44.2 IP as a starter is just too small of a sample size to really see how good Williams is. For many of my followers on twitter, he passes the eye test. For me, he does not. Given the other options, I think Williams will be given a fair chance to stay in the rotation.



Ivan Nova (7-4, 2.91 ERA) vs Chase Anderson (5-2, 2.92 ERA)

Time: Thursday – 2:10


If you really want to know about Chase Anderson, just click here. If you want to know something really quick, all you really need to know is that he is (in my opinion) the best starter the Pirates will face this series. Thankfully, the Pirates somehow managed to avoid the Brewers ace (Jimmy Nelson).

Also thankfully, the Pirates will get Ivan Nova to take on the Brewers best starter. Nova has been the Pirates MVP so far, and I don’t think it’s really debatable. Nova has managed to consistently eat up innings when nobody else has been able to. The bullpen thanks him for his service every 5th day.



Series Preview: Cubs @ Pirates

Series Preview: Cubs @ Pirates


Photo: Ron Cogswell

Chicago Cubs (32-33) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (30-36)


Eddie Butler (3-2, 4.03 ERA) vs Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.13 ERA)

Time: Friday – 7:05


Following a day off, the Pirates will begin an important 10 game stretch against the underachieving Chicago Cubs. After that, they will go to Milwaukee for four games, and then head to St. Louis for three. Good Pirates baseball could catapult them to first in the division, while bad Pirates baseball could have them quickly becoming sellers.

For game one, the Pirates will get to face Eddie Butler. Butler began his career with the Rockies, but after posting a 6.50 ERA over 159.1 innings, the Rockies decided to move on. The Cubs came into the season lacking pitching depth, so they decided to take a gamble on the 26 year old. This season, Butler has struggled mightily with left handed hitters. The Pirates will only use 3 against him in tonights lineup: Adam Frazier, Josh Bell, and Gregory Polanco. So far this seasonButler has pitched well against righties (18 IP). But over his career, his results have been well below average (107.2 IP).

While Tyler Glasnow pitched poorly enough to earn a demotion, Trevor Williams pitched well enough to earn a spot in the rotation. His last start was his worst since his first start of the season. The Cubs offense hasn’t been as good as it was in 2016, but they could bounce back at any moment. Hopefully Trevor can out pitch Butler in this one.

The Pirates are +102 in this one, and the game is expected to be high scoring with a run total of 9.5.



Jake Arrieta (6-4, 4.68 ERA) vs Ivan Nova (6-4, 2.83 ERA)

Time: Saturday– 8:15


Jake Arrieta has struggled this season. For a guy in his contract year, the following is very bad:


Ivan Nova has continued to pitch well. Unlike above, the following is good:





John Lackey (4-7, 5.26 ERA) vs Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90 ERA)

Time: Sunday – 1:35


The Cubs will roll out a 38 year old John Lackey in the series finale. Lackey, like the rest of the Cubs, has struggled. He has an ERA above 5, and a FIP to match. He has a 21.8% HR/FB, which certainly does not seem sustainable. So, his xFIP of 4.30 appears to be more believable than his ERA and FIP. Still, Lackey hasn’t given up much soft contact this year. This is the best matchup of the series for the Pirates, so hopefully the Pirates can take advantage of it. Even though I don’t really buy into batter vs pitcher numbers too much, Francisco Cervelli does have a .385 AVG against Lackey with a home run in 13 AB’s.

Jameson Taillon tossed 5 shutout innings against the red hot Rockies in his first game back. While the Cubs have been better lately, they haven’t been nearly as scary as they were last year. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have still been great, but Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Jason Heyward, Javier Baez, and Ben Zobrist have all been having down years. This will be a big game for the Pirates mentally, as a loss here could easily mean a lost series before heading to Milwaukee for another four very important games.

The Pirates are expected to lose this series, as they are +125 underdogs on Bovada. However, this series could certainly be won. And if it won, the Cubs playoffs odds will drop even more despite already dropping 11.9% over the last 7 days according to Baseball Prospectus.


Series Preview: Pirates @ Mets

Series Preview: Pirates @ Mets


Photo: Eric Kilby

Pittsburgh Pirates (24-30) @ New York Mets (23-29)


Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.65 ERA) vs Matt Harvey (4-3, 4.95 ERA)

Time: Friday – 7:10


*NOTE: Alen Hanson has been placed on waivers, and Gift Ngoepe has been sent to AAA. Max Moroff and Phil Gosselin have taken their spots on the roster.


Matt Harvey’s last start came against the Pirates. He had better command in that game than he has all season. The only run that came against him was off a home run by Gregory Polanco. Will the Pirates get good Matt Harvey or the high 4 ERA Matt Harvey? Maybe a more important question to ask is will Matt Harvey get the good Pirates offense, or the bad Pirates offense? Harvey is walking about as many hitters as Glasnow. After a day off, this should be a good welcome back to baseball matchup for the Pirates.

Gerrit Cole’s last two games have been pretty terrible. He has had poor command of his pitches, which has lead to less swinging strikes. Last time out, the Mets managed to bring an almost all lefty lineup. That resulted in Jay Bruce, Travis d’Arnaud, and Lucas Duda all hitting home runs. In just 66.2 innings, Gerrit has reached a new career high in home runs allowed. This team needs a good Gerrit Cole. Hopefully bad transforms back in to good Gerrit in this one.

The Pirates are underdogs in this one. Home field advantage is a big factor, but its never good to see Vegas bet against Gerrit.




Tyler Glasnow (2-4, 6.95 ERA) vs Robert Gsellman (3-3, 5.75 ERA)

Time: Saturday– 7:15


The Mets have recently stated that Gsellman has the stuff to close if he is moved to the bullpen. Gsellman has a 5.75 ERA. He is close to being moved to the bullpen. Good starting pitchers don’t get moved to the bullpen. Advantage: Pirates.

Last time out, Glasnow was pitching great. But when runners got on base in the 5th inning, he seemed to miss his spots which lead to more trouble. I said in his previous series matchup “I don’t like accusing players of being headcases, but I think Glasnow may be a headcase.” Last start did nothing to make me change my mind on that. I recently wrote about how Glasnow Doesn’t Have To Get Much Better To Be Good. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading that. There is far more detail in there than I can provide in a series preview write up.




Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.20 ERA) vs Tyler Pill (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

Time: Sunday – 1:10


Tyler Pill made his career debut against the Pirates a week ago. However, he made his debut out of the bullpen, not the rotation. He was forced in when the game went in to extra innings, and proceeded to blow the game. He got Polanco out, but then allowed Freese, McCutchen, and Cervelli to reach base. He managed to get out Gift Ngoepe before leaving the game, but Edgin came in and let in the tying run. The projections say Tyler Pill is around a 5 ERA pitcher. If the Pirates can’t manage to hit Harvey or Gsellman, they are almost guaranteed (ya, sure they are) to hit Pill.

Trevor Williams has pitched pretty good lately. With TaillonTaillon due back, this may be a make or break start for Williams. I obviously am very high on Chad Kuhl, but his command issues have been obvious. Maybe the Pirates will want to see him work on it in AAA. A good start from Williams here may make it hard for the Pirates to take him out of the rotation.

Series Preview: Diamondbacks @ Pirates

Series Preview: Diamondbacks @ Pirates


Photo: Keith Allison

Arizona Diamondbacks (31-21) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (23-28)


Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.82 ERA) vs Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.93 ERA)

Time: Monday – 4:05



Randall Delgado is not a well liked man in Pittsburgh. Delgado is the man that put a 95 mph fastball directly into McCutchen’s back. Ever since that moment, Delgado has been known for two things; being a jackass, and being mediocre. Delgado hit McCutchen in the 9th inning of that game, as a reliever. Today, he will enter the game as a starter. Delgado was not a good relief pitcher, so he certainly won’t be a good starting pitcher. He does better against right handed hitters, so look for Josh Bell, Gregory Polanco, and Adam Frazier to play a big role in todays game.

Trevor Williams second start of the season came against the Diamondbacks. That start is the only start in which he has given up less than 3 runs. Arizona is a much more difficult place to pitch than Pittsburgh, and this time the DBacks are without AJ Pollock. So, logically it makes sense that Williams will have another good start.

Vegas disagrees, though. The Diamondbacks are slight favorites in this one. Such small favorites in fact, that its practically a push at -112 ARI, -108 PIT. However, the total is set at 9.5, so there should be a lot of offense today.



Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.45 ERA) vs Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83 ERA)

Time: Tuesday – 7:05


Robbie Ray is the best starter the Pirates will face this series. Over the past calendar year, he has a 4.49 ERA. That’s not good, but over that same period he has a 3.52 FIP. Not to mention, his home park is one of the tougher ballparks to pitch in. Ray really shines against left handed hitters. Over the last year, Ray has struckout 35.7% of the lefties he’s faced. When you remember that this year Felipe Rivero has struckout 33.3% of the lefties he has faced, you realize what Ray has done as a starter is awfully impressive. Fortunately, the Pirates could easily stack their lineup with all right handed hitters. I’m almost positive that Jose Osuna will start for Polanco, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Adam Frazier is rested with a 12:35 game the following day. Josh Harrison could go play LF with Gift Ngoepe in at second base.


The Pirates rotation has been pretty inconsistent this last week. Or, I guess you could say it’s been consistently awful. Either way, Nova’s start will hopefully be what anxiety and rage free.



Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99 ERA) vs Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29 ERA)

Time: Wednesday – 12:35


Godley is a guy that has a great name but an underwhelming career. With that said, his velocity is up this year and is getting quite a bit of swinging strikes. He is a huge ground ball pitcher, but doesn’t have much control as shown by his 9.1 BB%. I’m not really sure what to make of Godley, he might be looking at a breakout season if he can…

… figure his control out like Chad Kuhl needs to do. Last start for Kuhl, the Mets managed to stack their lineup with almost all lefties. It’s no secret at this point, Chad Kuhl is much better against righties than he is against righties. However, I did say that I thought he finally had a weapon for lefties. He did throw his changeup more last start, but I think for him to be successful he will need to throw his slider more, around 30% of the time. His command has been a problem all year, and until he either figures out how his changeup or his command, he will be destined for the bullpen. However, I had mentioned in my previous article that Jaso’s RF defensive performance has been the worst by any fielder this year. Since teams like to load up on lefties, I think Jaso might be a little to blame for Kuhl and even Glasnow’s seasons. Of course, Jaso would only be a minor part of it. Glasnow and Kuhl both need to pitch better, and Jaso’s defense is not an excuse. I’m just making an observation.