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Royals vs. Pirates: Series Breakdown

On May 23, the Pirates lost to the New York Mets at PNC Park, dropping the series two games to one.  Since that time, the Bucs have gone 9-3 in four series against the N.L. Central.  They have won each one of the series, which has included a series sweep of the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park, a series victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, two series wins over the Cincinnati Reds in Pittsburgh as well as Great American Ballpark.

The most recent of those games, a 5-4 extra inning victory over the Reds last night, was perhaps the best of the season to this point, as proclaimed immediately afterward by a number of the Bucs’ players as well as manager Clint Hurdle.  Pittsburgh now sits with a 29-27 record, and is just two games out of the division lead.  Andrew McCutchen is still the offensive leader, but as of late, the team is getting contributions from a number of players, some of which have been struggling significantly since the beginning of the season.

Neil Walker and Garrett Jones are swinging hot bats right now, while Alex Presley looks to be rejuvenated after returning from a stint in Triple A Indianapolis.  Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez had productive returns to the lineup last night after missing the previous few games.  And perhaps the most encouraging of all has been the recent production of Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes, two guys who had putrid starts to their season, but have rebounded as of late and are contributing big hits and runs, and have been major factors in recent Pirates’ victories.

Following their impressive run against their divisional foes, the Bucs now begin a string of 15 games against American League opponents.  Tonight, they begin a brief home stand against the Kansas City Royals, a team of bright young players including Billy Butler and Alex Gordon.  Given the way the Pirates have been playing, this is a great opportunity for them to continue their winning ways in front of their home crowd.

Royals (24-31) vs. Pirates (29-27)

About The Royals…

24-31 Record, 4th In A.L. Central

Last Series:  1-2 Series Loss Vs. Minnesota Twins

Pitching Matchups:

6/8 – Luke Hochevar (KC) (3-6, 6.63 ERA, 46 K, 21 BB, WHIP 1.54) vs. Erik Bedard (PIT) (3-6, 3.72 ERA, 56 K, 25 BB, WHIP 1.40)

6/9 – Vin Mazzaro (KC) (2-0, 2.25 ERA, 5 K, 4 BB, WHIP 1.25) vs. James McDonald (PIT) (5-2, 2.14 ERA, 71 K, 20 BB, WHIP 0.95)

6/10 – Bruce Chen (KC) (5-5, 4.37 ERA, 48 K, 15 BB, WHIP 1.24) vs. A.J. Burnett (PIT) (5-2, 3.76 ERA, 50 K, 18 BB, WHIP 1.29)

Quotes From Both Sides:

[box_dark] “We think that we need to get him to focus on more of his core pitches.  If he can do that, we think that’s going to be the difference in him getting over the hump.” [/box_dark]

          Royals manager Ned Yost on starter Luke Hochevar’s struggles

[box_dark] “This is probably as satisfying a win as I’ve had since I’ve been here.” [/box_dark]

          Clint Hurdle on last night’s win over the Cincinnati Reds

The Pirates opened up Interleague Play a couple of weeks ago, losing two of three to the Detroit Tigers on the road.  They’ll look to have a more successful run against the American League, beginning this weekend at PNC Park. 

We’ll be down at PNC Park for all three games this weekend, providing pre and post game shows, daily articles, and of course, our Bucco Beat podcast following Sunday’s action.

Be sure to check back here for recaps and reactions to every Pirates game from us, the 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

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