After ending a three-game losing streak Friday night with an 8-6 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pirates will look to extend their winning streak to two games tonight as Jeff Locke (6-5, 5.44 ERA) takes on Kenta Maeda (6-4, 2.64 ERA).
Locke earned a win in his last start, which came Monday against the San Francisco Giants. Locke pitched 6.2 shutout innings while allowing three hits. The left-handed pitcher owns a 1-3 career record and 4.07 ERA in five games (four starts) against the Dodgers.
Maeda last pitched June 19, allowing a run on six hits in 6.1 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. In his last five starts, Maeda is 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA. On the season, Maeda has a 1.10 WHIP, .221 batting average against and .318 slugging percentage against. Though a rookie in Major League Baseball, Maeda had eight successful seasons in Japan with Hiroshima Carp, in which he posted a 97-67 record and 2.39 ERA in 218 games (217 starts). He is a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award, which is given to the best pitcher in Japanese baseball.
Nicasio prepared for bullpen return
Juan Nicasio is back in Pittsburgh and was told that he will be assisting the team in the bullpen from here on out.
“I found out when I returned from the Dominican Republic,” Nicasio said through translator Mike Gonzalez. “It’s not anything new to me. I’ve been in the bullpen before, and, honestly speaking, my heart is wherever it helps the team.”
Nicasio was used almost exclusively out of the bullpen last season when he was on the Dodgers. He stated that the key will be to know the hitters and attack the zone.
“If they need me to pitch one inning, two innings or three innings, whatever it is I’m ready and I’m willing,” he said. “It’s part of the game, and I just want to do the best I can.
“I felt healthy as a starter and have always been a starter throughout my career,” Nicasio said. “Did it work the way I wanted? Not really, but I definitely did feel great.”
Cervelli working toward return
Francisco Cervelli (broken hamate bone in his left hand) got his stitches off Friday and was doing some on-field catching drills prior to today’s game.
This step is getting him back to getting feeling in his hand as he inches closer to a return to the team. The Pirates are 3-10 in Cervelli’s absence.
“It’s the next step, get the stitches out and put the glove on and start swinging with both hands on the bat,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s excited, and when he’s excited, I’m excited.”
Hurdle remembers a former player of his, Vinny Castilla, who once took a check swing, came into the dugout and said he had a “hammatate injury.” Hurdle said he told Castilla, “That would be different than the hamate, We had three guys that had a hamate early in the season…. It actually wasn’t his hamate or his hammatate, and I think he hit over 40 home runs that year.”
- John Jaso 1B
- Starling Marte LF
- Andrew McCutchen CF
- David Freese 3B
- Matt Joyce RF
- Josh Harrison 2B
- Jordy Mercer SS
- Erik Kratz C
- Jeff Locke P
- Kike Hernandez 2B
- Justin Turner 3B
- Corey Seager SS
- Trayce Thompson CF
- Adrian Gonzalez 1B
- Yasiel Puig RF
- Scott Van Slyke LF
- A.J. Ellis C
- Kenta Maeda P
Bottom of the ninth
Last night, Adam Frazier recorded the first hit of his Major League career, off Dodgers left-handed reliever J.P. Howell.
This accomplishment was lost in the fanfare of last night’s game, but that was not the case with Hurdle.
“Leaving the park I saw him and his wife, Haley,” Hurdle said. “I got to say hello. It was kind of like high school after the game, you walk down the street, no one’s around and scream ‘hey it’s Frazier.’ I didn’t want to blow his cover though.”
Starling Marte had two hits in yesterday’s game and has 30 multi-hit games on the season, tying him with Daniel Murphy for the National League lead… Mark Melancon has converted 17 consecutive save opportunities dating to April 27. He has 72 saves since the beginning of last season, a Major League best total… The Pirates have gone 97 innings without making an error. The longest such streak was 112 innings in 2007… There is no official timetable on Gerrit Cole, who has not yet done any mound work. Cole (right triceps strain), is currently restricted to throwing on flat ground… It is unknown if Gregory Polanco will be available off the bench in tonight’s game. Polanco (left leg discomfort) was said to be feeling better after last night’s game.
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