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Pittsburgh Pirates Matchups to Watch: June 4-10

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Coming off yet another series loss to a National League Central opponent, the Pittsburgh Pirates prepare for a pair of three game sets against the last two winners of the NL pennant.

The downward spiral continues for the Pittsburgh Pirates (30-29). The Bucs are coming off a series in which they lost three of four to the St. Louis Cardinals and have now dropped 12 of their last 16 games dating back to May 18.

Things don’t get any easier for the Pirates who return home to begin a three game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers (29-30) tonight at PNC Park. Yes, the Dodgers record isn’t overwhelming by any means. But they’re still a team stocked with talent that is making a surge as of late, winning seven of their last 10 games.

Following the series with LA, the Pirates travel to Wrigley field for a three game weekend series with the Chicago Cubs (33-23). After some early season struggles, the Cubs are reaching midseason form, having won eight of their last 10 games.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Pirates as they once again go face to face with a pair of playoff caliber teams this week. Here are a few of the matchups to look out for during the week.

Joe Musgrove vs. Joc Pederson

In his first two starts as a Pirate, Joe Musgrove has been fairly impressive. The 25-year-old right hander has gone seven innings in each outing and has compiled 12 strikeouts in 14 innings while only allowing one run.

His two starts weren’t against slouch teams either. They were against the Cardinals and Cubs, two potent lineups that can make a solid start turn into a nightmare for a pitcher in an instant.

Musgrove’s next challenge comes in the form of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that he has never faced during the regular season. However, he does have experience against Dodgers’ hitters, having faced most of them in the World Series last year.

One batter that Musgrove has limited experience against is outfielder Joc Pederson. The two have never faced one another during the regular season, but Pederson has had success against Musgrove in the past.

In game four of the 2017 Fall Classic, Pederson hit a late three-run home run off Musgrove to break open a 6-2 victory for the Dodgers. But that wasn’t the end of Pederson’s success against the righty. In game six with the Dodgers up 2-1 in the seventh inning, Pederson went deep off Musgrove again with a solo shot into left field.

This time around, it’s anyone’s guess what could result from a matchup between these two players as Musgrove is scheduled to start tonight in the opener against the Dodgers.

Musgrove has clearly had an immediate impact for the Bucs while Pederson is in the midst of a successful stretch of his own. Pederson, who is hitting .261 this season, has three home runs with two coming Saturday against Colorado. The 26-year-old outfielder had four hits in a 12-4 victory over the Rockies and is hitting .350 in his last seven games.

With both players contributing to their team’s success as of late, this should be an interesting matchup for fans to keep an eye on.

Jameson Taillon vs. Chris Taylor

It might be fair to say Jameson Taillon is pleased to see the calendar flip to June.

The young right hander, who posted a 4.15 ERA in five May starts, started off the new month in a big way, throwing eight shutout innings in a win over the Cardinals Friday night. Taillon allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six.

His latest outing is an encouraging sign as he has had his share of struggles throughout the season. Taillon will again be tested Thursday when he’s expected to take the hill against the Dodgers.

Taillon has limited experience against the defending National League champions, having only made two career starts against them. In those outings, Taillon has a 9.00 ERA and 2.11 WHIP. He has more walks (6) than strikeouts (3) in those starts.

The Dodgers current lineup collectively holds a .409 career average against Taillon, which doesn’t exactly bode well for the 26-year-old hurler.

No Dodger player has had as much success against Taillon as Chris Taylor. Though it’s a small sample size, Taylor is a perfect 3 for 3 against Taillon with a double and three RBIs.

As if that wasn’t enough, Taylor comes into this series with the Pirates as one of baseball’s hottest hitters over the last few days. During the three game set with the Rockies, Taylor went 6 for 11 (.545) with a home run and six RBIs. He also had a pair of triples and scored five runs while walking three times.

Considering both of these players have had good starts to the month of June, this matchup is definitely one where something’s got to give.

Taylor’s small sample size of success against Taillon could very well continue. But on the other hand, Taillon’s latest start against St. Louis could have been the start of a big month for the Pirates’ top starter.

Jordy Mercer vs. Mike Montgomery

Out of his 20 appearances this season, Mike Montgomery has started just two games.

He earned those starts due to Yu Darvish‘s stint on the disabled list, but has taken full advantage of the opportunity. In those two outings, Montgomery has allowed just one run on four hits. He has struck out nine and walked one while going a combined 11.2 innings.

One of those starts was against the Pirates May 28 when he shut them out through 5.2 innings. Montgomery will get another shot at the Bucs during this weekend’s three game set at Wrigley Field.

Jordy Mercer, who did not play when Montgomery got the nod against the Bucs at PNC Park last week, is likely looking forward to facing the Cubs’ left-hander.

Mercer doesn’t have a ton of at-bats against Montgomery, but he has made the ones he has had count. In his career against the 28-year-old hurler, Mercer is 4 for 8 with a double, a home run and two RBIs.

Mercer has had his fair share of struggles at times this season, but he is hitting .300 in his last 15 games. A matchup against a guy he has had some success against in the past might be exactly what Mercer needs to translate his stellar 15-game stretch into a big month of June.

Jose Negron is a news/sports reporter for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper in Monessen, Pa. He has contributed Pirates coverage for Rum Bunter and Pirates Breakdown for the last two years. Jose is a 2016 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Journalism.

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Parsing GM speak, living with Gregory Polanco and more

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On the latest episode of Locked on Pirates, host Jason Rollison explains how to parse GM Speak, how to live with Gregory Polanco and wonders out loud if the Washington Nationals just opened the floodgates.

All that and more on the latest episode of Locked on Pirates, live for your listening pleasure:

Pittsburgh Pirates fans – Subscribe, Rate, Review!

Locked on Pirates is the semi-daily Pittsburgh Pirates podcast of choice for discerning Pirates fans.

Jason Rollison from Bucs Dugout and others will help you through the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates season.

You can help chart the podcast’s success by subscribing to our podcast and writing a review!

We are on every podcast app that ties into iTunes, so search for us! Or, if you’re on an Android or iOS device, please just click the links below to subscribe, and while there, why not leave a review?

Using something other than these three? Just search for “Locked on Pirates” in your podcast app of choice.

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Off Day Mailbag with 93.7 The Fan’s Josh Taylor

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On this episode of Locked on Pirates, host Jason Rollison brings in Josh Taylor of 93.7 The Fan to help answer your burning Pittsburgh Pirates questions and more.

The latest episode of Locked on Pirates is available for your listening pleasure. Each off day, we open up our mailbag to your various gripes, salient points and even more gripes (understandable) to help us get through the off day.

Josh is always a great guest, and together we talk Jung Ho Kang, Gregory Polanco and so much more. It’s an engaging bout of Pirates talk without the BS. We hope you enjoy, and if you do please consider subscribing at the links below!

NOTE: Had some audio issues a the beginning which level out at around the 1:00 minute mark. 

Pittsburgh Pirates fans – Subscribe, Rate, Review!

Locked on Pirates is the semi-daily Pittsburgh Pirates podcast of choice for discerning Pirates fans.

Jason Rollison from Bucs Dugout and others will help you through the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates season.

You can help chart the podcast’s success by subscribing to our podcast and writing a review!

We are on every podcast app that ties into iTunes, so search for us! Or, if you’re on an Android or iOS device, please just click the links below to subscribe, and while there, why not leave a review?

Using something other than these three? Just search for “Locked on Pirates” in your podcast app of choice.

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The Locked on Interview – Adam McInturff from 2080 Baseball

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In the return of Locked on Pirates and the Locked on Pirates interview, Alex Stumpf talks the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates draft with 2080 Baseball’s Adam McInturff. Together the duo go through the 2018 Pirates draft and talk about some of the lesser-known prospects for the West Virginia Power.

Pittsburgh Pirates fans – Subscribe, Rate, Review!

Locked on Pirates is the semi-daily Pittsburgh Pirates podcast of choice for discerning Pirates fans.

Beginning with Opening Day, Jason Rollison from Bucs Dugout and others will help you through the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates season.

You can help chart the podcast’s success by subscribing to our podcast and writing a review!

We are on every podcast app that ties into iTunes, so search for us! Or, if you’re on an Android or iOS device, please just click the buttons below to subscribe, and while there, why not leave a review?

 

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