If we just pretend that the ninth inning last night didn’t happen, the Pirates are only a really nice stretch of baseball right now during this three-game winning streak. Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke have given the Pirates two nice starts in a row, and the Pirates aren’t really having much trouble scoring runs, and the bullpen has, besides that one inning, been awfully solid of late.
They’ve got a good opportunity to wrap up a series win and get back to .500 in Miami this afternoon, with Charlie Morton taking the mound against Randy Wolf. Morton has been the Pirates’ best pitcher of late, and this was probably even true before Gerrit Cole went on the disabled list. After starting 0-6 and being plagued by unearned runs, Morton’s got a 2.35 ERA in his last four starts. Over 23 innings in that stretch, he’s struck out 24 and walked 11, and only allowed 18 hits. He’s also only given up one unearned run in that span, after giving up nine in his first nine starts. Wolf is back in baseball after missing all of last year with the second Tommy John surgery of his career. He had a weird contract dispute with the Mariners in spring training, then signed with the Diamondbacks, opted out of his contract with them in May, and signed with the Marlins. He’s looked OK in his three starts with the Marlins, but he really struggled in 2012 before his injury and his velocity is down from 2012 this year. It’s hard to imagine there’s much left in the tank, honestly.
Josh Harrison is back in the lineup and at second base today, but Gregory Polanco remains at leadoff for obvious reasons after last night. First pitch today is at 4:10.