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Looking Ahead at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Week: 5/5-5/11

May 5th, 2014 at 3:29 PM
By Allan Smith

'PNC Park' photo (c) 2009, Jon Dawson - license:

The schedule does not get any easier for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as they welcome the first place San Francisco Giants, who swept the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, to PNC Park before the St. Louis Cardinals come to town for a three-game set.

At the conclusion of the series against St. Louis, the Pirates will host the first ever ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game at PNC Park, which opened in 2001.

San Francisco Giants: 20-11 | -

St. Louis Cardinals: 16-16 | 4.5 GB

Pittsburgh Pirates: 12-19 | 8 GB

Monday: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Francisco Giants 7:05 p.m. | Jeff Locke (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Yusmeiro Petit (2-1, 2.61 ERA)

Current Giants batters are just 2-for-10 off of Locke, who is making his 2014 debut with the Bucs Monday. Locke gave up three earned runs in four innings in his only career start against the Giants in San Francisco on Aug. 22 last year. One can expect Clint Barmes to be in the lineup against Petit, as he is 4-for-8 in his career against the right-hander with a home run and a pair of doubles.

Tuesday: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Francisco Giants 7:05 p.m. | Charlie Morton (0-4, 4.21 ERA)  vs. Tim Hudson (4-1, 2.17 ERA)

Morton is still looking to pick up his first win of the season, and it will be no easy task against the active career leader in wins and winning percentage in Hudson, who has yet to post a sub .500 season over the course of his stellar career. Morton has poor numbers against San Francisco batters, who are 34-for-101 lifetime against him with eight walks and a .811 OPS. Pirates batters have average numbers against Hudson, posting a .245/.333/.701 triple slash in 111 plate appearances. Pedro Alvarez is 4-for-10 with a home run and a walk, and Neil Walker is 3-for-10 with a double, triple and walk.

'Tim Lincecum' photo (c) 2010, SD Dirk - license:

Wednesday: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Francisco Giants 12:35 p.m. | Gerrit Cole (2-2, 3.69 ERA) vs. Tim Lincecum (2-1, 5.12 ERA)

Last season, Cole made his Major League debut against San Francisco facing non other than Lincecum. The two will match up again in the finale of the three game series. Giants batters are just 2-for-18 off of Cole, while Lincecum has held current Pirates to a .181/.260/.600 triple slash. Similarly to Hudson, Alvarez and Walker re the two standouts against the former Cy Young Award winner, posting a 1.420 and a 1.071 OPS respectively.

Friday: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals 7:05 p.m. | Francisco Liriano (0-3, 4.54 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (2-3, 2.55 ERA)

Liriano will prepare to face St. Louis for the third time in the young season, whereas Wacha will face the Pirates for the first time since his near no-hitter against them during Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS. Liriano has slightly below average numbers against St. Louis, putting up a triple slash of .293/.358/.793. Only Andrew McCutchen, Jordy Mercer and Alvarez have hits off of the Cardinals starter, who has a .103/.133/.375 slash line against the Bucs.

Saturday: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals 7:05 | Edinson Volquez (1-3, 4.19 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (4-1, 3.51 ERA)

Volquez will be looking to right the ship after a pair of six-run outings, including one in St. Louis, while Lynn will be looking for any sort of positive momentum against Pittsburgh. In 171 plate appearances, Volquez has a .260/.333/.780 slash line against St. Louis, allowing eight doubles, six home runs and 16 walks. Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, Matt Carpenter and Mark Ellis all have good numbers off of Volquez, in addition to Jhonny Peralta, who just boosted his numbers after a two-homer game against Volquez the last time both faced each other.

Lynn's triple slash of .272/.359/.821 against Pittsburgh is below average, and Alvarez, Walker, Jose Tabata and Starling Marte all have great career numbers off the former first-round pick, although McCutchen's numbers are awful.

Sunday: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals 8:05 p.m.| Jeff Locke (0-0, 0.00 ERA) / Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 7.65 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (3-2, 3.15 ERA)

Either Jeff Locke or Wandy Rodriguez will be starting this game for the Bucs on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. In 44 plate appearances against Cardinals' batters, Locke has allowed a .780 OPS, whereas Rodriguez has allowed a .766 figure in 126 plate appearances. Holliday has great numbers against both lefties.

Aside from his last start against the Pirates, which was his first career win against the team, Miller has had trouble with the Bucs. Pirates' batters have a .840 OPS off of Miller, and Alvarez has three home runs off the right-hander. Tabata, Marte and Walker all have great numbers against the Cardinals' starter as well.

Tags: Baseball, MLB, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals

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