The Sox gloriously took two out of three games against the New York Yankees last weekend, improving their record to 57-59 and gaining half a game in the Wild Card race. Next up is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are currently 45-70 and in fifth place in the National League Central Division. They are coming off a three-game set with the San Francisco Giants in which they were swept, which is more or less what’s to be expected from a club that hasn’t even tried to win since the Obama presidency.
For game one, Nick Pivetta will take the mound for the Red Sox with Mitch Keller going for the the Pirates. Pivetta is 8-9 on the year with a 4.51 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. His last outing was against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, when he pitched six innings, gave up three runs, walked two, and struck out five. Keller is 4-8 on the year with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. He last pitched against the Arizona Diamondbacks, lasting five and one-third innings, giving up three runs, walking one, and striking out three.
In game two, Rich Hill is starting for Boston and JT Brubaker for Pittsburgh. Hill is 4-5 on the year with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. His last outing was against the Braves last Tuesday. He pitched four innings, allowed four runs, and walked one. Brubaker is 2-10 on the year with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. His last appearance was last Thursday against the Diamondbacks. He went for five innings, allowed two runs, walked two and struck out six.
In the series finale, Nathan Eovaldi will face Bryse Wilson. Eovaldi is 5-3 on the year with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. His last outing was against the Yankees on Friday. He threw six innings, gave up two runs, walked two and struck out three. Wilson is 2-7 on the year with a 5.93 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. His last outing was against the Giants on Friday. He went for five and one-third innings, gave up four runs, walked two, and struck out one.
It goes without saying that the Pirates have had a less than ideal season. They are only three games out of third place in the NL Central however, so there is still some motivation for the team to play their best.
Center fielder Bryan Reynolds has been the biggest offensive producer for the Pirates. He leads the team in batting average with .259, home runs with 17, RBIs with 40, and OBP at .345. Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes leads the team in hits with 98.
JT Brubaker leads the Pirates in strikeouts with 117. Relief pitcher Chris Stratton still leads them in wins with five, despite having just been traded. Relief pitcher David Bednar, who acts as the team’s closer, leads them in saves with 17.
The Pirates are hitting .220 as a team this season, which is the second lowest in the MLB. The team ERA is 4.59, which is the fifth worst in MLB.
This series is winnable for the Red Sox. They lucked out in the pitching matchups as two of their better starters, Pivetta and Eovaldi, are lined-up to pitch. If the Red Sox can manage a sweep, they would likely gain ground in the Wild Card race. First pitch for all three games is at 7:05 EST and they will all be televised on NESN.