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Blue Jays vs. Pirates – Series Preview

And the skid continues for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  After Charlie Morton’s strong start was mauled by a rain delay and a three-run fifth inning, resulting in a 6-1 loss in the first game of a doubleheader yesterday, the Bucs blew a four run lead in the nightcap, resulting in a two-game series sweep by the Baltimore Orioles.  The Pirates are now 10-18 on the season, and have lost 15 of their last 19 games.

The Bucs return to PNC Park for an extended home stand, beginning tonight as they open up a three-game Interleague series against the Toronto Blue Jays.  With their three top pitchers so far this season set to hit the mound, the Pirates should stand a fighting chance to get back to winning baseball games, something that has eluded them for the past few weeks.

The story of the early season demise continues to be the lack of offensive production, failing to capitalize on run-scoring opportunities and squandering chances to turn a one or two run inning into a four or five run outburst.  Hence was the case in both games yesterday against Baltimore – the Bucs tallied ten hits in the first game and could only score one run, while in the second game, they loaded in the first, but could only score two runs, both on walks.  The Pirates were outscored by the Orioles, 11-6, in the two games combined yesterday.

The Blue Jays enter play tonight with a 13-15 record, which is good for third in the talent-stacked A.L. East division.  As is the case with virtually every team in baseball at this point, the Blue Jays’ offensive numbers are far superior to that of the Pirates.  Melky Cabrera leads the team with a .342 batting average, while Jose Bautista (.292, 8 HRs, 18 RBIs) and Brett Lawrie (6 HRs, 20 RBIs) are putting up big numbers at the plate as well.  Amidst a pitching staff that has struggled out of the gate is Mark Buehrle, who has five wins already while posting a 2.25 ERA.  Fortunately, the Pirates will not see Buehrle this weekend.

Here are the projected pitching matchups for this weekend’s series between the Pirates and Blue Jays:

5/2 – Brandon Morrow (TOR) (1-2, 6.04 ERA, WHIP 1.57) vs. Gerrit Cole (PIT) (2-2, 3.18 ERA, WHIP 1.26)

5/3 – R.A. Dickey (TOR) (2-3, 5.09 ERA, WHIP 1.47) vs. Francisco Liriano (PIT) (0-3, 3.97 ERA, WHIP 1.29)

5/4 – Dustin McGowan (TOR) (1-1, 5.87 ERA, WHIP 1.61) vs. Edinson Volquez (PIT) (1-2, 3.21 ERA, WHIP 1.01)

The Pirates will look to win their first series in weeks this weekend to kick off an extended home stand at PNC Park.  For all the latest news and recaps to all Pirates games, be sure to check back right here at your home for the Battlin’ Buccos, Fans From The Stands!


As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor