Series Preview: Pirates enter potential season-altering series against Phillies; Cole returns

Posted on Sep 12 2016 - 5:18pm by Joey Cinello
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Gerrit Cole sits in the dugout during his last outing on August 24. Photo Credit: Justin Berl/Getty Images North America via Zimbio

Gerrit Cole sits in the dugout during his last outing on August 24. Photo Credit: Justin Berl/Getty Images North America via Zimbio

The Pittsburgh Pirates put themselves in this situation. By my assumption, at least three wins against the Philadelphia Phillies must be had if the team wants to make a postseason push.

Let’s get past all the garbage. Obviously, riddled by injuries, spotty pitching and untimely injuries have helped Pittsburgh obtain an inadequate 69-72 record and a six-game deficit to make up in the Wild Card race. However, the time for excuses is over. It’s time for the Pirates to put the pedal to the metal and gain ground.

September hasn’t been kind to the Pirates — .200 win percentage — and neither have teams that are under .500 in 2016.

The Pirates will have a chance to get back on track against one of baseball’s worst teams at the moment, Philadelphia Phillies.

Losing Josh Harrison for 4-6 weeks won’t help any matters — basically the whole season — though right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to return and open the series after being sidelined since August 25. Wanting to limit rookie Jameson Taillon’s innings, Cole is called upon to fill his spot.

Many rightly still consider Cole the Pirates staff ace, even with his troubles throughout 2016. Pittsburgh and Cole have something in common, both haven’t lived up to their respective potentials this year. It’ll be on Cole’s shoulders to inflate the team with a breath of fresh air tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

Good News: This series will be four games against one of baseball’s worst teams. Also, Philadelphia is 30-39 at Citizens Bank Park in 2016.

Game One

First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. EST @ Citizens Bank Park
TV Side: Root Sports Pittsburgh
Radio Side: KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan)
Pitching Matchup: Gerrit Cole (7-9, 3.55 ERA) vs Jeremy Hellickson (10-9, 3.90 ERA)

Lineups:

Pirates Lineup Phillies Lineup
Adam Frazier LF Cesar Hernandez 2B
Josh Bell 1B Roman Quinn RF
Andrew McCutchen CF Makiel Franco 3B
Gregory Polanco RF Ryan Howard 1B
Jung Ho Kang 3B Cameron Rupp C
Francisco Cervelli C Freddy Galvis SS
Sean Rodriguez 2B Odubel Herrera CF
Jordy Mercer SS Cody Asche LF
Gerrit Cole P Jeremy Hellickson P

Notes

  • Pittsburgh finds themselves in a predicament, a must-win game of sorts. Time is running out for the Pirates to make a run in the Wild Card race.
  • Pirates bats have cooled off of late. Look for Jung Ho Kang to try igniting the offense again tonight.
  • Cesar Hernandez has been the only consistent bat for the Phillies over the past month — .302 average, .402 OBP, .477 slugging.
  • Cole has owned Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard over the years; .222 batting average against.
  • Watch out for Hellickson tonight, his career statistics against current Pirates hitters show complete control and not even a .200 batting average against him.
  • Starling Marte (back spasms) remains out of the lineup.

Final

Cole struggles in return game, Pirates lose 6-2.

Game Two

First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. EST @ Citizens Bank Park
TV Side: Root Sports Pittsburgh
Radio Side: KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan)
Pitching Matchup: Ivan Nova (5-0, 2.53 ERA) vs Alec Ascher (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Lineups:

Pirates Lineup Phillies Lineup
Adam Frazier 2B Cesar Hernandez 2B
Josh Bell 1B Roman Quinn RF
Andrew McCutchen CF Makiel Franco 3B
Gregory Polanco RF Ryan Howard 1B
Jung Ho Kang 3B Freddy Galvis SS
Matt Joyce LF Odubel Herrera CF
Francisco Cervelli C Aaron Altherr RF
Jordy Mercer SS Jorge Alfaro C
Ivan Nova P Alec Ascher P
  • Ivan Nova is looking to remain unbeaten in Pittsburgh.
  • Starling Marte (back spasms) remains out of the lineup, Matt Joyce inserted in his place tonight.

Game Three

First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. EST @ Citizens Bank Park
TV Side: Root Sports Pittsburgh
Radio Side: KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan)
Pitching Matchup: Steven Brault (0-2, 3.38 ERA) vs Jake Thompson (1-5, 6.05 ERA)

Lineups: TBA

Game Four

First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. EST @ Citizens Bank Park
TV Side: Root Sports Pittsburgh
Radio Side: KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan)
Pitching Matchup: Chad Kuhl (3-3, 4.09 ERA) vs Jerad Eickhoff (10-13, 3.73 ERA)

Lineups: TBA

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