This is the last Pirates/Tigers game scheduled to be played in PNC Park this year, and the Pirates and Tigers are both locked in razor-thin playoff battles. There is also quite a bit of rain in the forecast for Pittsburgh this evening. This could be a long night.
The Pirates made a roster move this afternoon in anticipation of that possibility; Casey Sadler was sent down after pitching last night, and Brandon Cumpton was called up in his place. Presumably, Cumpton is insurance in case of an early rain delay that knocks Edinson Volquez out of the game in the first couple of innings. Volquez is coming off of one of his better starts as a Pirate in Miami last week, but he’s been pretty uneven in the second half. This is true of every Pirate starter that isn’t Francisco Liriano or Vance Worley, though, so Volquez’s spot in the rotation is probably safe with another decent start tonight. We also learned this afternoon that Gerrit Cole is getting one more rehab start, so any decisions on Volquez or Jeff Locke will be held off until next week at the earliest.
The Tigers are starting Robbie Ray. What you, as a Pirate fan, need to know about Robbie Ray is this: he’s left-handed. He’s not very good, though, and the Pirates had some success with a not-very-good lefty in Brad Field last week. It at least seems plausible right now that between Jordy Mercer, Russell Martin, Starling Marte, and a quietly-hot Gregory Polanco, that the Pirates might be able to put some runs on the board tonight. If the weather is a problem again, I have a feeling we might be in for another 17-runs-combined sort of game, so hopefully the Pirates will be able to put up some crooked numbers again tonight.
First pitch is at 7:05. Maybe.