Joe Musgrove (0-5, 4.68 ERA) vs. Aaron Civale (4-5, 3.99 ERA)
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians meet for the second of this three-game interleague series at Progressive Field. The Indians shocked the Pirates with 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to steal a 4-3 win on Friday night in Cleveland. Mitch Keller went 5 innings with just 1 earned run allowed, but it wasn’t enough to close out his season with a win. In any event, it was a good performance for Keller to reflect on as he goes into the offseason. Ending on a positive note is always a good thing.
The Pirates will have a lot of bad to reflect back on in the offseason. They go into Saturday with a record of 18-40 and will likely finish with the worst record in the majors. The Texas Rangers are currently 20-38, so if the Pirates can lose just one more game, they’ll guarantee the worst record in the league. Two wins and two losses for the Rangers, then the Bucs and Rangers will tie. The Pirates have absolutely nothing to lose on Saturday and Sunday, and the Indians have clinched, so that’s working in their favor.
It didn’t help last night, but at least the Pirates were competitive and only lost because of a blown save opportunity in the final inning. On the opposite side, you could certainly make the argument that the Indians don’t want to go into the postseason after a poor series against the worst team in the majors. That’s true and could be a momentum killer for the Tribe. A come from behind win on Friday night should only help their momentum and confidence, though.
The Indians would like to see Aaron Civale get his confidence up going into October. Civale will be placed in the bullpen for the postseason, and will likely be called on to pitch some important innings in the playoffs. He may not have made the postseason rotation, but Civale is probably going to play a big role as a reliever. Civale will receive his final starting nod of the season on Saturday evening against the Pirates. Joe Musgrove, who is still searching for his first win, will counter for the Bucs. Head below for our free Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cleveland Indians pick for September 26, 2020.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cleveland Indians MLB Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cleveland Indians Prediction:
Joe Musgrove would have a win by now if he were playing on a team who knew how to hit, but that’s not to say Musgrove has been good this season. There is a little bit of blame to go around on this Pittsburgh team.
Musgrove enters Progressive Field with an ERA of 4.68 and 1.38 WHIP. He’s pretty well been at that mark throughout his five-game career. In 107 games throughout his career, Musgrove has posted an ERA of 4.39 and 1.24 WHIP, so he’s seen a slight drop in production in 2020.
Most of Musgrove’s problems stem from pitching on the road. He’s been quite effective in Pittsburgh, but pitching on the road has been a tricky situation for him. Musgrove has registered an ERA of 2.41 and 1.02 WHIP at home, but a 7.71 ERA and 1.86 WHIP on the highway.
Teams are reaching base at a clip of .403 versus Musgrove when he’s a visitor. I’m not really so sure there is going to be much motivation from this team after what happened last night either. Run support might be tough for Musgrove to find, yet again. He’s used to it by now in 2020.
The Pirates are dead last in the majors with 3.53 runs scored per game. Aaron Civale was strong against the Bucs in one start. Pittsburgh connected for a .167 average and 1 run against Civale across 25 at-bats, managing to produce only 3 hits. Civale gave up 8 hits and 4 earned runs in his last start, but the Pirates should present a nice opportunity to rediscover his form. The Indians by 2 or more runs appears fairly realistic in this spot.