Game 116: Pirates in the Bay Area

Get ready for a couple #LateNightBUCN’s this week with the Pirates set for a three game series against the Giants from AT&T Park in San Francisco. Tonight and Tuesday night’s game is set for 10:15PM.

The Pirates lost three-out-of-four games in Pittsburgh back in June and the one win they had was the game where Jeff Locke beat Madison Bumgarner (#CantPredictBaseball) for the win. Thankfully the Pirates miss Bumgarner and Giants second ace Johnny Cueto this series.

The Giants sit in first place of the NL West at 66-51, but they’ve been on a bit of a slide in the second half. Since the All-Star break, the Giants are just 9-18 and watched their 6.5 lead over the Dodgers vanish to just a one game lead. They’re 5-7 in August and lost their first eight-out-of-nine games to start the second half. In the month of August alone, the Giants posted just a .679 OPS as a team. Let’s hope the Pirates can keep the Giants bats at bay for at least one more series.

It should be an emotional return for Ryan Vogelsong back to San Francisco as he set to start for the Pirates tonight. Vogelsong was a part of the Giants organization from 2011-2015 and also made his debut with them back in 2000 before being traded to Pittsburgh in 2001.

Vogelsong has pitched well as a starter in limited time this season with a 0.95 ERA through four starts with 18 strikeouts and just two walks in 19 innings. Since returning to the rotation from the DL after surgery to repair facial fractures when he took a pitch to the face while batting, he’s allowed just one earned run in 12 innings in two starts. We’ll see what he can do tonight against his former team. Being with the Giants for the past five years, Vogelsong obviously hasn’t faced many of the Giants young lineup. The other current Giants he faced more than twice is Denard Span and Angel Pagan.

The Pirates will face a pitcher they tried to acquire at the deadline in LHP Matt Moore. The Rays reportedly asked for Austin Meadows and/or Kevin Newman and the Pirates rightfully said no thank you. The Giants entered the picture and dealt away two prospects and Matt Duffy for Moore’s services. Moore owns a 3.99 ERA (4.42 FIP) on the season and is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA through two starts as a Giant. Even with the low ERA, Moore has walked 11 batters in 12 innings since coming to the National League. Despite this being his 6th year in the Majors, Moore has only faced one current Pirates player before—Francisco Cervelli, who is 0-for-3 against Moore in his career.

Even though the Pirates have never faced Moore before, they’ve been successful against left-handers this season, going 17-8 in games started by a southpaw. The team has an .813 OPS against left-handed starters compared to a .711 OPS against righty starters.

The lineup has some changes in it for tonight versus the lefty. JHay’s hot bat stays in the leadoff position where he has an .856 OPS against southpaws and since being inserting into the leadoff position on August 5, he’s hitting .351/.368/.486 in nine games. Jordy Mercer bats second considering his yearly success against lefties and Hurdle drops Polanco to eighth in the lineup.

Pirates North Shore Nine
Harrison 2B
Mercer SS
McCutchen CF
Freese 1B
Marte LF
Kang 3B
Cervelli C
Polanco RF
Vogelsong P

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