The Pirates are coming off of a couple of disappointing series in which they dropped two of three at home to the Phillies, followed by dropping two of three to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Despite losing four of six, the Pirates have won eleven of fifteen. The Oakland A’s will come to PNC Park coming off of two series wins; one against the Cubs, and the other against the Royals.
Game one: Bartolo Colon (11-3, 2.78) Vs. Jeff Locke (8-1, 2.12): This will be the most interesting matchup of the series, when two All-Star pitchers will square off. Locke has been dominant all year, but he’s been especially good against A.L. teams, he holds a record of 2-0 with an 0.93 ERA in his starts against teams from the Junior Circuit. Bartolo Colon is coming off of his first loss since May 9th, but he’s been incredible this year.
Game two: Dan Straily (5-2, 4.52) Vs. Gerrit Cole(4-1, 3.94): Straily is coming off of a great start against the Chicago Cubs in which he threw seven innings of shutout ball, but his overall numbers this year are pretty shaky. Gerrit Cole is coming off of his first loss as a big leaguer, but he’s shown what Pirates fans have to look forward to over his career so far. He’s been inconsistent at times, but for the most part he’s getting the job done.
Game three: Tommy Milone (8-7, 4.11) Vs. Francisco Liriano (8-3, 2.20): After a string of a few rough starts, Milone had a good one his last time out, going 8.1 innings, giving up three earned and striking out four en route to a 6-3 win over Kansas City. Liriano is coming off of a complete game in which he gave up two earned runs, and struck out seven. He has All-Star quality numbers so far, but a smaller sample size kept him out of the game.
*All starters listed are probable
A’s Players To Watch:
Yoenis Cespedes: Cespedes has struggled mightily this year, when he was expected to be one of the most feared hitters in baseball. Can he begin to turn a corner as the season begins? You can read a good piece on his struggles this season from Swinging A’s, here.
Josh Donaldson: This year has been a coming out party for Donaldson, who’s hitting .319/.388/.536 so far this season, but wasn’t put on the A.L. roster for the All-Star game because he’s unfortunate enough to share a league with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado. Pirates fans should appreciate getting to see him play during this series.
Jed Lowrie: Lowrie is putting on a clinic for the A’s, having a career year while posting a triple slash of .301/.372/.426, Lowrie has been a tough out this year, and that should continue in this series.
Pirates Players To Watch:
Andrew McCutchen: McCutchen has been on fire the last couple of weeks, hitting at a torrid pace of .395/.480/.581, with eight RBI and three SB over the course of eleven games, and his 2013 year to date totals are now .303/.375/.471. Want to keep arguing that Cutch is having a down year?
Starling Marte: The Marte Partay has been in full effect the last couple of weeks as well, Marte is batting .370/.370/.685 over the last two weeks, with nine XBH and five SB.
Gerrit Cole: Cole is coming off of his first loss as a major leaguer, a less than stellar outing on July fourth. How will he respond in his next opportunity?
The A’s are an all-time 9-0 against the Pirates.
The Pirates are 11-3 in interleague play this season.