The Pittsburgh Pirates travel out west where the San Francisco Giants will be waiting for them. They got their series started last night, with the Pirates jumping out early to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. The Pirates have been playing good baseball recently, but is too late for them to make a push to a wildcard? It’s not dead yet, they’re within reach of the Braves who currently hold the final spot. There are a few more teams bunched in there as well.
It’s going to be a heated race to the finish in September, and the Pirates hope they can improve their cause before we reach the final stretch. It took them a minute to figure out how to operate without Andrew McCutchen in the lineup, but now that they have it, things are looking up in Pittsburgh. They did not have the hottest of starts over the first two months of the regular season.
Pittsburgh have gone 17-7 in their last 24 games with Thursday night currently pending. They are up big on the Giants by a score of 8-2 as I write this article. The Giants were coming off two losses in a row to the Astros. Like has been the case often this season, the Giants’ offense went silent and could only score a run in each outing. August 3rd is the last time the Giants have scored more than 3 runs in a game.
The Pirates have received timely pitching from their starting unit, and recently added Chris Archer to the equation. Acquiring Archer tells us that the Pirates are going for it instead of folding their hand and giving up on 2018. Trevor Williams will get the starting job for the Pirates tonight. He’s been good recently and will look to keep it rolling in the Bay Area. The Giants are scheduled to give ex-Ranger, Derek Holland, the starting nod.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Francisco Giants Pick
Clay Holmes (1-1, 3.65 ERA)*Pitching Change vs. Derek Holland (5-8, 3.88 ERA)
Trevor Williams has been ringing the quality starts up recently. He enters with a decent ERA of 3.88, but it’s what he has been doing in clutch situations for the Pirates lately that has turned heads. Williams has allowed just 2 runs in his previous for starts, both coming against the Cardinals. He held the Mets, Indians, and Nationals all to three runs. Doing that against the Mets isn’t too impressive, but the Indians and Nats have some mashers in their lineup. Williams holds an impressive 1.06 ERA in his previous three starts. The Giants have hit .219 with no long balls against Williams in 32 at-bats. The best they’ve done is 2 doubles off Williams.
Fortunately for the Giants, Derek Holland has had success against this lineup. The Pirates are hitting just .184 off Holland with a deep ball in 49 at-bats. Holland has reinvented himself in San Francisco, as he’s having his best season since 2013 with the Rangers. Holland posted a 3.42 ERA in 2013 and then it was downhill for him after that due to injuries. He lasted just five starts with a 1.46 ERA in 2014, signalling the beginning of a rough road back to being a productive member of a rotation. Holland hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs since July 5th. We have to go back to May 30th to find when he gave up more than 3 runs in a start. Holland enters Friday with an ERA of 2.76 and 0.92 WHIP in his previous three outings. You can make a good case for a low-scoring contest on Friday at AT&T Park.