(Photo Credit: Keith Srakocic / AP)
The Pirates (71 – 49) look to straight the ship after a 1 – 5 road trip that has dropped their NL Central lead to two games. Another team chasing them for a playoff spot, The Arizona Diamondbacks (62 – 57) invade PNC Park for a 3-game set starting tonight. Gerrit Cole (5 – 5, 3.95 ERA) will face Brandon McCarthy (2 – 6, 4.73 ERA).
The Diamondbacks trail the Pirates by 8 1/2 games going in to tonight’s contest. A series victory by the Bucs could go a long way to locking up their first playoff spot since 1992.
On Wandy Rodriguez’s BP session today and rehab – “He threw 35 pitches – fastball, changeup, repeated his delivery, threw some two-seamers and some four-seamers as well, so it went well. If he feels good tomorrow, we will have him throw a bullpen session in San Diego on Monday. The next step after that, if we progress in a positive manner, would be to throw another sim game against some hitters on Friday in San Francisco.”
On giving Gerrit Cole a couple extra days off between starts – “Were monitoring innings. Were finding a way to be smart with how many available innings he can pitch this year to maximize that opportunity, also to help him probably re-calibrate a number of things but we are keeping an eye on the innings and were keeping an eye on the pitches. We’ve tried to devise a plan we’re going to follow to keep him in play through the end of the season and possibly an opportunity to pitch in October as well.”
– Pedro Alvarez has homered twice in his last four games after going 11 straight without a bomb. He enters tonight’s contest tied for the league lead in homers with Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt. Alvarez is also a homer away from becoming the only third baseman in team history to hit 30 homers in two different seasons.
– Starling Marte collected his 10th triple of the season yesterday in St. Louis to become the first Pirates player since Jack Wilson in 2004 to have at least 10 doubles, triples and home runs in a season and the first outfielder to do so since Andy Van Slyke.
First pitch is set for 7:05
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