First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. EST at PNC Park
TV Side: Root Sports Pittsburgh
Radio Side: KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan)
Pitching Matchup: Luke Weaver (1-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 3.56 ERA)
For the first time since 2011, coming into a game under .500 on September 6 has become a reality once again for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team will look to halt its seven-game losing streak tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals, a group that currently holds the coveted second Wild Card spot.
Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong will be taking the bump against Cardinals rookie, Luke Weaver.
Vogelsong, who set the world on fire when he first returned from injury in early-August, hasn’t seen the same results in his previous two starts.
Positioning on Vogelsong’s pitches are essential against any team because of a downward trend on his velocity, and the opening game of the Cubs series showed just that, allowing five runs on six hits and there walks.
After the game, the Pirates celebrated Vogelsong’s 10 years of MLB service time.
Unlike Vogelsong, Weaver is on the up and coming.
Weaver’s performance has been exactly what the Cardinals were looking for when calling him up. Nothing truly sticks out in his statistics except for one figure: home runs.
Through four MLB starts, four home runs have been allowed by Weaver in 21 innings.
Expect to see plenty of fastballs (averaging mid-90s mph) tonight — 63 percent of his big league pitches thrown in 2016 have been heaters, showing his lack of command on a secondary pitch. His curveball, albeit only 30 being thrown this year from him, has opponents hitting .375 against it.
Because Weaver doesn’t have a reliable secondary pitch to lean on, balls outside of the zone are rarely swung at.
Don’t sleep on Weaver, though. Last time out, the 23-year-old struck out 10 batters and had his magnificent start undone by a big three-run homer against the Milwaukee Brewers, a team the Pirates had trouble with last series.
|Cardinals Lineup||Pirates Lineup|
|Kolten Wong 2B||Josh Harrison 2B|
|Jedd Gyorko SS||John Jaso 1B|
|Brandon Moss RF||Andrew McCutchen CF|
|Matt Adams 1B||Gregory Polanco LF|
|Yadier Molina C||Jung-ho Kang 3B|
|Randal Grichuk CF||Matt Joyce RF|
|Jhonny Peralta 3B||Jordy Mercer SS|
|Jeremy Hazelbaker LF||Chris Stewart C|
|Luke Weaver P||Ryan Vogelsong P|
- Jung-ho Kang (last start: Aug. 19) and Chris Stewart (last start: July 1) are both making their respective returns since coming off the DL.
- This Pirates team isn’t known for the long ball, but don’t be surprised if they put a few on the board against Weaver.
- Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko and Stephen Piscotty own Vogelsong.
- Brandon Moss, though his career has transpired differently than his time as a Pirate, is a .245 career hitter at PNC Park.
- John Jaso (.429) has been swinging it the past seven days; Josh Bell (.105) not so much.
- Josh Harrison, who continues to stay hot in the leadoff spot, and Starling Marte have been leading the offense the past week.
- Kolten Wong and Yadier Molina have been the only two doing much of anything for the Cardinals of late.
Pirates bring up four Indianapolis Indians to bolster roster
With the Indianapolis Indians season concluding last Monday, it allowed the Pirates to call up four players: Pedro Florimon, Tyler Glasnow, Drew Hutchison and Trevor Williams.
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) September 6, 2016
In order to make room for Florimon and Williams on the 40-man roster, Kelvin Marte and Curtis Partch were designated for assignment by the club.
This will be Hutchison’s, brought over in a trade that sent Francisco Liriano to the Toronto Blue Jays, first time on the Pirates big league roster.
Williams’ earned run average has been below two since July in Triple-A.
Glasnow, Hutchison and Williams, at least at first, are expected to contribute from the bullpen to start.
Jared Hughes named Pirates Roberto Clemente Award nominee
Click here to read more about Jared Hughes’ honor.
You can vote for Hughes and all other nominees at mlb.com/clemente.
Follow tonight’s game via our official twitter page (@pitsportscastle) with our own Emma Planitzer, and stay tuned for our post game recap with Kelly Stringer.
Joe Cinello contributes to and owns the Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Connect with him on Facebook (Joey Cinello), Linkedin (Joseph Cinello) and Twitter (jcin13).