Pitchers: Juan Nicasio (4-3, 4.46) takes on Yu Darvish, making his long awaited return. Nicasio's last three starts have been forgettable (1-1/6.46), and even his inning in the rain out was sketchy. He hasn't worked since the 15th, so maybe the rest will give him a chance to iron out a couple of wrinkles. The last time the Bucs met Darvish, they came away with a 1-0 win in 2013. This will be Yu's first MLB outing since he had TJ surgery in March of 2015, and all eyes will be on the strikeout ace. He'll be on a pitch count, but a generous one of 85-90 pitches. Darvish looked fine in the rehab trail. He had a 0.90 ERA through five starts at AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock, striking out 21 batters with three walks in 20 IP.
|Juan looks to right his ship tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Matt Joyce DH, Jordy SS, Cole Figueroa 2B (Nicasio P). Josh is still suffering with a bug, and Clint is giving Figgy a chance. JHK and S-Rod are both starting on the bench tonight. If ya got a bench, use it.
- The Pirates have won five in a row and 10-of-12.
- Last night was Jung Ho Kang's first appearance as a DH. It was also Cole Hamel's first loss since August of last year (he was 12-0, spanning 19 starts). The two are intertwined, as JHK's three run homer stuck the fork in Hamels.