Game 43: Rubber Match vs. Rockies

For today’s rubber match, the Pirates will face off against the Rockies at 1:35 at PNC Park. After looking to take both games, the Rockies came back handing the Pirates a heartbreaking loss.

Juan Nicasio will throw the first pitch in the game today. His 4.46 ERA has been disappointing after his great start to the year, and it has been since April 29 that he last gave a quality start.

For the Rockies, Chad Bettis will take the mound today. His season ERA sits at a 4.18 and for his career he has a 4.98 ERA. Bettis is part of the long string of mediocre pitchers the Rockies have, and the Pirates will need to capitalize on this. He only tops out at around 92 MPH. He is a fastball and slider pitcher who will throw in some cutters and changeups, who doesn’t allow many walks. He will, though, allow plenty of hits and that is where the Pirates need to get at him.

Pitchers like this is who Gregory Polanco has feasted on all year, so I would look for him to continue his hot season and have a big game today. He is currently batting .299 with an N.L. leading 16 doubles. He will continue batting third in the lineup today where he is averaging .296 and maintaining a .900 OPS. If Polanco continues this type of production, look for him to handle this spot for the majority of the season.

Andrew McCutchen returns to the lineup today after a day of rest. By his standards, he is not having a great year, but he has still been very productive with an .804 OPS on the year. He has turned it up as of late and Facing the Rockies and Diamondbacks pitching could certainly get you back on track.

Sean Rodriguez will also start in place of Jordy Mercer at short. S-Rod, much like Matt Joyce, is having a tremendous season in limited duties. in 54 at bats, he is batting .315, while slugging .611. He has hit four home runs and drove in 14 RBI’s so far. To put this in perspective, he his .246 and had 4 home runs and 17 RBI’s all of last season in 224 at bats. This will just be Mercer’s second game sitting, so it was much needed.

We all know Juan Nicasio is going to work pretty slow and get his pitch count high early in the game. Knowing this, the bullpen is going to be an integral part of the team’s success us they are going to win. This means we cannot afford to see what Arquimedes Caminero can do. Wilfredo Boscan in now part of the roster, and it would be wise to send the young man out if Nicasio cannot make it past the 5th. Also, Tony Watson has quietly turned it up lately as well. After a shaky start, he hasn’t allowed a hit in the last five outing and hasn’t allowed a run in the last nine. For the season, he now holds a very ‘elementary’ 2.29 ERA.

Pirates Lineup:

  1. Jaso 1B
  2. McCutchen CF
  3. Polanco RF
  4. Marte LF
  5. Freese 3B
  6. Cervelli C
  7. Harrison 2B
  8. Rodriguez SS
  9. Nicasio P

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