Pittsburgh Pirates Prepare for Final Divisional Series of the Season


The Pittsburgh Pirates will wrap up National League divisional play with a series against the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend

The 69-84 Pittsburgh Pirates have just nine games remaining in their 2017 season. This includes just three more division games. These final three division games will be played against the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend.

Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 1-2 on their final homestand of the season. This weekend the Bucs will look to improve upon the 6-10 record they own against the Red Birds this season. The Pirates are limping into this series having lost 12 of their last 14 games.

This three-game series is slated to start at 7:05 tonight at PNC Park. Ivan Nova will be starting for the Pirates while the Cardinals send Michael Wacha to the mound.

While the Pirates have nothing to play for, the Cardinals are fighting for a postseason spot. The 80-72 Cardinals enter this series 5 games back of the first place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central. However, in the National League Wild Card race the Cardinals are just 1.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies for the second Wild Card spot.

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This gives the Pirates an opportunity to play spoiler this weekend against arguably their biggest rival. While 2017 has second for the Pirates, finishing the season by helping to keep the Cardinals out of the postseason would be a fun way to end 2017.

Ivan Nova will be looking to build upon a strong start in his last outing. Last Sunday against the Reds, Nova allowed two runs on three hits in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Overall this season Nova has struggled to the tune of 193 hits and 29 home runs allowed in 180 innings pitched. As a result, he owns a 4.20 ERA and a 4.47 FIP. Nova’s hard contact rate of 34.7 percent is the sixth highest in the National League this season.

As for Micahel Wacha, he is having a strong bounce-back season after struggling in 2016. In 154 2/3 innings pitched he has allowed just 16 home runs while averaging 8.50 K/9 and 3.08 BB/9. He owns a 4.02 ERA, 3.68 FIP, and a 3.91 xFIP. He also owns a career-best 47.2 percent groundball rate.

First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 on Friday night.