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Pittsburgh Pirates Matchups to Watch: May 14-20

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have won six of their last eight games and continue their homestand this week against teams at the bottom of their respective divisions.

The Pittsburgh Pirates (23-17) have their third off day in the last week, but it hasn’t seemed to hinder their play. The Bucs have won six of their last eight games and will continue their homestand tomorrow, beginning a brief interleague series with the Chicago White Sox (10-27) at PNC Park. The Pirates swept the Sox, who sit in last place in the American League Central, in a two-game set in Chicago last week.

Following the Chicago series, the Pirates will take on the San Diego Padres (16-26) in a four-game weekend series. The Padres, the NL West’s last place team, have shown to be much better away from home at Petco Park and are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

The Bucs are getting a second look at the Sox, a team they don’t face often, and a first look at the Padres this season. Here are the matchups to look out for throughout these two series.

Pirates lineup vs. Reynaldo Lopez

Reynaldo Lopez’s start against the Pirates tomorrow gives him an opportunity at redemption. The 24-year-old right hander made his first career start and second appearance against the Pirates Wednesday, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time this season and allowing two runs on three hits. He walked a pair and struck out six; however, he earned a no-decision in a 6-5 loss.

Lopez, who holds 2.44 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in seven starts this season, had an abundance of success against the Pirates lineup as he had arguably one of his best outings as a major leaguer. He shut down every member of the offense except for Gregory Polanco and Jordy Mercer. Both went deep against Lopez and provided the Pirates’ lone hits against the starter as Mercer went 1 for 3 and Polanco went 2 for 3.

Considering that many of the Pirates hitters have been producing at a high level as of late (with Sunday aside), it will be interesting to see how the rest of the lineup does against Lopez after facing him once. Its not unrealistic to think the results could be a little different. But at the same time, the advantage could very well be in Lopez’s favor once again.

Starling Marte vs. Carson Fulmer

Carson Fulmer hasn’t exactly been lights out for the White Sox this season.

The Vanderbilt product is 2-3 with a 6.23 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in eight appearances (seven starts). He has struck out 27 and walked 19 in 30.1 innings, but his major issue has been the home run ball as he has allowed eight round trippers. In his last two games, Fulmer has allowed 10 runs on 10 hits while walking six and striking out nine in 5.1 innings. He has also surrendered five home runs in that span.

Fulmer, a former first round draft pick, is making his first career start against the Pirates Wednesday and he could be facing their offense and Starling Marte at the worst possible time.

The Bucs have scored six or more runs in each of their last six wins and Marte has been a huge catalyst for the offense as of late. Marte, who is hitting .304 with six home runs and 19 RBIs this season, is batting .455 in his last five games. He has added a home run and has driven in three runs in that span. The Pirates center fielder has been piling up the strikeouts as of late, but he has been getting on base more often than not.

Marte has never faced Fulmer in his career, but he may have the advantage in this matchup. If Fulmer can’t figure things out against the outfielder and the rest of the Pirates lineup, it could very well be a long night for him.

Corey Dickerson vs. Tyson Ross

Padres starter Tyson Ross is scheduled to take the mound during this weekend’s series in Pittsburgh. Ross will be making his sixth career start against the Bucs, a team in which he has had success against in the past. In five career starts against them, Ross is sporting a 3.29 ERA and 1.10 WHIP despite holding a 1-2 record.

Ross has plenty of experience against most of the Pirates starters, but Corey Dickerson may stand out as his most commonly faced foe.

The two have gone head-to-head on a number of occasions with both having their moments of success against each other. In his career against Ross, Dickerson is hitting .313 (5 for 16) with a pair of solo home runs, a double and two walks. Ross has also gotten the better of Dickerson, punching him out four times.

Looking ahead to this matchup, it’s hard to determine who might have the edge. Ross has looked pretty good this season, sporting a 3.40 ERA in eight starts. He has also been consistent as of late, allowing three or less runs in three of his last four starts while going six-plus innings in each of those outings.

But on the other hand, Dickerson has been just as good in his role at the dish. He’s hitting .353 in his last four games and holds a .319 batting average with five home runs and 27 RBIs this season. Dickerson has at least one hit in all but two games this month and has been a consistent producer for the Bucs.

This matchup might be the most intriguing of the week. Fans should most certainly keep an eye on this one to see who comes out on top in a battle that dates back to 2013.

Nick Kingham against Padres?

Nick Kingham will get the nod as the starter tonight, but he won’t be toeing the rubber on a major league diamond. The right hander will be making a start at Double-A Altoona, continuing to stay on his pitching schedule.

Kingham is expected to return to Pittsburgh soon as reported by the Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel on Saturday.

Kingham may very well get the nod this weekend against San Diego, another new team that the young right hander will get the opportunity to face.

The Padres are among the bottom four in baseball in runs scored (156) and batting average (.227) this season, so this could be a favorable matchup for Kingham, who is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in two starts this season. The Padres have also struck out more than any other National League team, which is good news for the Pirates’ 26-year-old hurler who has punched out 16 batters in 12.1 innings.

It’s not a guarantee that Kingham will have the chance to throw against San Diego. As Biertempfel reported this weekend, that plan could be changed if Jameson Taillon is forced to miss his next start. But if Kingham does get the opportunity to go up against the Padres, he could very well be put in a good situation to have success.

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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