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Series Preview: Pirates at Rockies

Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Are you hooked in? You might as well be.

The Pirates are finally back at .500 (48-48), more importantly three games back of the first-place Brewers after sweeping them in a four-game series at PNC Park this week. But you knew that.

What that series did, among other things, was make sets like this upcoming one more important. Whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic about the team, at least there are consequences to the games being played. There were plenty of times this year it didn’t look like the Pirates would get to this point.

Welcome (back?) to meaningful baseball. Welcome to a pennant race, maybe. Whatever your expectations, it looks like we might actually have a little fun this year.

Season Series: 2-1 Pirates

At Pittsburgh

June 12: Pirates 7, Rockies 2

June 13: Pirates 5, Rockies 2

June 14: Rockies 5, Pirates 1

Schedule

Friday, 8:40 p.m. - Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.57 ERA) vs. Jeff Hoffman (6-1, 4.33), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Saturday, 8:10 p.m. - Chad Kuhl (3-6, 4.85) vs. German Marquez (7-4, 4.34), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Sunday, 3:10 p.m. - Ivan Nova (10-6, 3.27) vs. Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.67), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Rockies

56-41 (53-44 Pythag, 5.31 RS/G, 4.77 RA/G)

Offense

Charlie Blackmon (.329/.383/.615, 23 HR) dealt with a leg cramp on Wednesday but is expected to be good to go this weekend. Outside of the usual suspects, Blackmon and Nolan Arenado, Gerardo Parra (.364/.387/.549, 8 HR) is also doing quite well, albeit in 199 plate appearances. Twenty-three-year-old Raimel Tapia (.314/.369/.480, 112 PA) has become a contributor, which could push the struggling Carlos Gonzalez (.218/.296/.335) out of the lineup. Tony Wolters (215 PA, 97 at home) hasn’t hit a home run, somehow.

Pitching

The pitching staff has been the difference for the Rockies, who, while well behind the powerhouse Dodgers in the NL West, hold the league’s second wild-card spot, with a 5 1/2 game over the Cubs (and 7 1/2 over the Pirates). Colorado has the 10th-best staff in the majors by fWAR, at 9.8, and they throw their top three performers at the Pirates this weekend. Kyle Freeland has gotten do that territory despite fanning just 5.63 batters per nine innings. Jeff Hoffman has only walked 2.45 per nine. German Marquez (8.24 K/9, 3.04 BB/9) has the least strange-looking line, and sits at the top of the team’s list. Closer Greg Holland (12.23 K/9, 4.08 BB/9) and setup lefty Jake McGee (10.85 K/9, 2.31 BB/9) have both been bargains. Holland (1 year, $7M) signed as a free agent while McGee ($5.9M this year) was acquired from Tampa Bay in the Corey Dickerson trade. Both were thought to be of little value to Colorado outside of being possible trade chips, but here the Rockies are.

Outlook

The Pirates likely aren’t going to win eight in a row, but they need to build on their recent success and not fall back into the purgatory they’ve been in most of the year. In case you haven’t noticed, the Cubs have won six in a row, so it doesn’t look like they’re going away. The Pirates had a good showing against the Rockies last month; another one would have them looking pretty good with a forgiving stretch of the schedule coming after that.

Poll

The Pirates are good again! What happens now?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    This train stops for no one. Pirates sweep.
    (84 votes)
  • 55%
    2-1 Pirates
    (298 votes)
  • 23%
    2-1 Rockies
    (129 votes)
  • 5%
    JK. Rockies sweep.
    (30 votes)
541 votes total Vote Now