Pittsburgh Pirates (39-39)
New York Mets (36-42)
Thursday, June 26th – 7:05 pm
Friday, June 27th – 7:05 pm
Saturday, June 28th – 4:05 pm
Sunday, June 29th – 1:35 pm
PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA
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Sunday – TBD vs. Bartolo Colon
News, Notes, Storylines
– Big, big homestand for the Bucs. Four with the Mets, three with the Diamondbacks, three with the Phillies — three subpar teams who are a combined 28 games under .500. Time to make some ground leading up to an important St. Louis/Cincinnati roadtrip right before the All-Star break.
– Pirates are 21-18 at home … Mets are 19-21 on the road.
– Gregory Polanco is helping reignite the Pirates, writes MLB.com’s Hal Bodley. Yesterday marked the first game of Polanco’s MLB career in which he didn’t reach base. The Bucs are 9-6 since his arrival.
The latest hard-hit rate leaderboard — Ranking the top 60 (minimum 200 PA) … 2 Pirates in top 4, much more… pic.twitter.com/T494Jrqe4X
— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) June 26, 2014
– Thursday’s matchup features two pleasant surprises — Daisuke Matsuzaka and Vance Worley.
– Jose Tabata will make his 2014 Triple-A debut on Thursday, batting third and playing right field for the Indy Indians.
– Captain David Wright has a nine-game hitting streak entering the series.
– PNC Park promotions this weekend: Fireworks/Faith Night on Thursday; Free Shirt on Friday; Cutch MVP bobblehead on Saturday; Neil Walker Poster/Kids Day/Photofest on Sunday.
– By the way — today is the 13th anniversary of Lloyd McClendon‘s stolen base:
What they’re saying:
[quote_simple]”Can you tell that I’m not too high on the Pirates? It probably started when I looked at last season’s playoff roster and thought, “You know, they’re not that much more talented than the Mets.” That was intended to be optimism for the Amazins, but now that both clubs are lousy, it’s pessimism for Pittsburgh.” – Amazin Avenue Preview[/quote_simple]
Player to Watch
Gerrit Cole, who will be activated from the disabled list and start on Saturday afternoon. He’s been out for roughly three weeks with shoulder fatigue, which hopefully doesn’t become a lingering issue. He didn’t miss much of a beat with his long tossing, side sessions, and sim games, and appears ready to go without any rehab starts at a minor league level. Cole’s been okay in his sophomore season – not totally dominant but still very good. It’d be nice to see him rise up and bolster the Bucco rotation.
Pirates take three of four. Need to. No team has really emerged in the Wild Card race, and the Bucs sit just 3.5 out of the second spot. Saturday marks the halfway point of the season. This club needs to get over & stay over .500 if they want to make any progress, and this series/homestand is a really good chance to make a move.