The Pirates are 3-6 in the month of July, as they enter into their last series before the All-Star break, a three game set at home, against the New York Mets. The Mets have been hanging around the bottom of the N.L. all year, but have been hotter over the last few weeks, winning nine of their last sixteen. The Pirates will likely need to take two of three to keep pace with the Cardinals, but they have a decent chance against the Mets.
Game One: Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.39) Vs. Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.38): Despite some somewhat lackluster numbers on the year overall, he’s won his last three decisions, and hasn’t given up more than two earned runs since May.
Game Two: Carlos Torres (0-1, 0.51) Vs. A.J. Burnett (4-6, 3.05): Torres will start in place of Matt Harvey, who is skipping his start, either due to a blister on his right index finger, or in order to leave him in line to start Tuesday’s All-Star game. A.J. Burnett will go for his second start since coming off of the D.L. last week.
Game Three: Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60) Vs. Jeff Locke (8-2, 2.15): Gee gave up five earned in his last start, but came out with a win. Jeff Locke wasn’t as lucky, throwing seven great innings, but dropping a 2-1 decision to the A’s his last time out.
*All starters listed are probable
Mets Players To Watch:
David Wright: Wright will be a player to watch for two reasons this weekend: First off, he’s far and away the Mets best position player. Secondly, his initial snubbing of Pedro Alvarez for the home run derby might earn him a bit of vitriol from the Pirates faithful at PNC Park. Whatever happens, Wright is always a fun player to watch and a great talent.
Carlos Torres: Torres is a reliever who hasn’t started a game since 2010 when he started against the Detroit Tigers. He gave up five earned runs over six innings, and hasn’t started since. How will he fare as a starter in place of Matt Harvey?
Marlon Byrd: Marlon Byrd has had a good season as a hitter, posting fifteen home runs and forty-nine RBI on the season. As a guy who’s only signed through this year, and as a corner outfielder, he’s liable to be in reasonably high demand around the deadline, and could even be dealt to the Pirates. Getting a look at him over this weekend will be a good opportunity for Pirates fans.
Pirates Players To Watch:
Pedro Alvarez: Pedro’s on fire over the last seven days, hitting .360/.385/.600, and has just been nominated to his first All-Star game. Can he stay hot headed into the break?
A.J. Burnett: Burnett was good in his return against the Cubs, but only lasted five innings. Both he and the Pirates are hoping that he’ll last much deeper into his second start since injuring his right calf.
Jose Tabata: Can Tabata play his way into being the Pirates full-time right fielder, or will the Pirates be in the market for a right fielder at the deadline? Tabata seems to know his job is on the line, and he’s playing like it.
The Pirates are 3-1 against the Mets this season.
Jason Grilli’s only loss this year came against the Mets, on May 9th.
For the rest of your Mets Vs. Pirates fix, check out the Q&A I did with Will DeBoer of Rising Apple, here.