Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.92) faces Brandon Workman (1-9, 5.27) as the Bucs go for the sweep tonight.
Cole has won his last three starts although he has been less than dominating, running into middle inning problems. In his last start, the righty struck out six and walked one in six innings during a 7-3 victory over Chicago. The Bucs would like to get him more efficient with his pitch count and more aggressive with his pitch mix. He has managed to go six innings in all five starts since coming off the DL, though generally not much longer.
But he's been collecting wins and has traditionally been a bulldog in September, so they'd like to keep that part of the formula in place. The Cole Train has never faced the Red Sox.
Workman, a spot starter since mid-season, is trying to shake a nine-game losing streak, with his only 2014 victory coming back on June 10th against Baltimore. He surrendered five earned runs in three innings of a 10-6 loss to Baltimore last week in his latest outing.
His overall peripherals aren't that terrible, but he's had a second half melt down. In six appearances over the last two months,Workman is 0-5 with an ERA over eight. Since the All-Star break, he has a 1.75 WHIP and a .309 BAA, compared to a 1.18 WHIP and .225 BAA pre-ASG. It may be the workload catching up; he tossed just 101 innings last year and is north of 140 frames this season.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Starling Marte LF, Ike Davis 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Chris Stewart C and Cole P. Russ gets a night off with Milwaukee next on the agenda. Jordy's back; Clint did a fine job babysitting the position. Gregory Polanco is out, too - tough crowd when a homer doesn't keep you in the lineup.
The game begins at 7:05 at will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- Vanimal: Rob Neyer of Fox Sports wonders if the Pirates just demoted their best starting pitcher?
- Wave 'Em In: With 648 runs scored, the Pirates rank second in the league in that category and have already surpassed last year’s total of 634 runs.
- PNC Power: The Pirates have won 11 of their last 13 series played at PNC Park and have gone 18-6-1 in their first 25 home series.
- Fan Sourced: The PNC attendance for 2014 so far is 2,290,051, the second largest in franchise history. Even with four sellouts - and the joint should be rocking against the Brewers this weekend - the top mark of 2,464,870 from 2001 is still safe.
- Bucs v Brew Crew:The match-ups for the approaching Brewer series: Friday, Locke v Gallardo, Saturday, Volquez v Garza and Sunday, TBA (Morton?) v Peralta.
- Big Papi: In case you're missing Big Papi, he's not benched because he's the DH in an NL city, but because he left the team Sunday to deal with a family emergency and just returned today.
- Ex-Bucs: Red Sox 2B Brock Holt, out with a concussion since August 25th, is scheduled to meet with a specialist today. He's hitting .281 for the Bosox and has played every position this season except for pitcher & catcher.