The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to win its afternoon contest Thursday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs. If the Pirates do win it will avoid losing its first four-game series of the season.
This afternoon, Charlie Morton will face Kyle Hendricks.
Morton is 3-5 with a 4.71 ERA in 13 career starts against the Cubs. Morton won his last start, snapping a three-game losing streak. In the start, Morton allowed two runs on three hits over six innings of work against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Hendricks is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three career games [all this season] against the Pirates. He won his last start against the Philadelphia Phillies allowing three runs on four hits in 6.2 innings. Hendricks snapped a five-start winless streak with the victory.
Watson dependable option for Pirates: Speaking with a former reliever, Tony Watson realized that staying healthy was a very important aspect to life not just in the bullpen but with baseball as well.
“I remember Kyle Farnsworth was here a couple of years ago and he told me that I needed to do whatever I could to keep my body healthy and ready each night to where they are able to call your name,” Watson said. “That’s what I always try to do.”
Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Watson has made 282 appearances which is a Major-League best among left-handed starters.
“I take a lot of pride in what I do during the off-season,” said Watson. “Somebody told me and I believe it now that whatever you do in December is going to pay off in September. I work hard and try to put as much work in as I can in the off-season to get my body ready.”
Watson leads all relievers in holds this season and holds a 0.69 ERA in 40 appearances at PNC Park this season.
Seventh inning stretch: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle revealed his pitching rotation through the team’s series against the Cubs. A.J. Burnett, J.A. Happ, Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke will throw against the Rockies, while Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano and Burnett will throw against the Cubs.
This announcement means that the Cubs will push Liriano back a couple of extra days.
“We wanted to give him a little bit of a break and he understood completely,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was really good about it and is ready to take advantage of it.”
Earlier in this preview, Watson’s durability was mentioned, in Hurdle’s pregame press conference, Mark Melancon also was mentioned. Hurdle mentioned Melancon is a different person on the mound and has the mentality that if a baseball was a knife, he would cut you.
Melancon’s success has been documented and was rewarded with a selection in this year’s MLB All-Star Game.
“If he was in a bigger city and threw harder, he’d be making more noise,” said Hurdle. “He’s been a prototypical guy that squeezes every bit of talent out of himself. He leaves nothing to chance.”
Bottom of the ninth: Andrew McCutchen has the day off and it was scheduled. McCutchen had played 30 innings in the past two days… The Pirates are 17-2 in day games played at PNC Park this season… Marte’s 13 outfield assists are the most by a Pirate since Jason Bay also recorded 13 in 2007.
Photo credit: Michael Thomas/Getty Images