Game 159: Final Home Game

The Pirates final game at PNC Park in 2016 will be tonight against the Cubs in the last game of a four-game series. This is weather pending of course as it looks like rain is in the forecast all night.

Not only is this the last scheduled game at PNC Park, but it could be Ivan Nova‘s last start in a Pirates uniform. And if the reports are true and he really wants a 5-year deal then yes, it better be his last start for Pittsburgh. There’s no arguing what Nova has done since the Pirates acquired him at the deadline. He’s made 10 starts with a 3.19 ERA (2.74 FIP) in 59.1 innings. He’s walked just three batters, only four home runs as a Pirates pitcher and tossed TWO complete games in just 10 starts. Before the Pirates, he was a 4.90 ERA (5.09 FIP) in 97.1 innings pitcher with the Yankees. His sudden turnaround has been surprising, even for a Pirates coaching staff that’s known to turn pitchers around. Of course, his last two starts were his worst with the Pirates, going just three and four innings.

Just like last night’s game, this game means nothing other than to round out some players’ stats for the year. The Cubs are already in cruise control mode, starting LHP Rob Zastryzny for his first ML start of his career. He’s a 4.60 ERA minor league pitcher who’s made seven appearances out of the Cubs pen this year to a tune of 1.46 ERA.

Alen Hanson gets the start at second base tonight as he’s a candidate to take that position on Opening Day next season. Hanson is 5-for-18 in his limited time this year with the Bucs. This is just his second start of the season and first since September 17. Jung Ho Kang bats fourth for the Pirates as he’s displayed elite power since returning from the DL. Eric Fryer gets another start as it looks like it’ll be him and Jacob Stallings in these last games.

Pirates North Shore Nine
Mercer SS
Bell RF
McCutchen CF
Kang 3B
Rodriguez LF
Freese 1B
Hanson 2B
Fryer C
Nova P

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