The Pirates (12-10), losers of four in a row and six of their last seven, get some respite with a visit from the Tigers, who the Bucs swept to open the season.
To its credit, Detroit’s been more middle of the road than the doormat it looked at times in the opening series. They followed a five-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak, and enter this series coming off a split of four games with the Royals.
Oddly enough, the Tigers are the Pirates’ first repeat opponent of the season.
Season Series: 3-0 Pirates
March 30: Pirates 13, Tigers 10
April 1, Game 1: Pirates 1, Tigers 0
April 1, Game 2: Pirates 8, Tigers 6
Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. — Jordan Zimmermann (9-11, 7.71 ERA) vs. Chad Kuhl (2-1, 4.57); TV: AT&T SportsNet
Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. — Matt Boyd (0-1, 1.40) vs. Jameson Taillon (2-1, 2.86); TV: AT&T SportsNet
Thursday, 12:35 p.m. — Michael Fulmer (1-2, 3.47) vs. Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.20); TV: AT&T SportsNet, MLB Network (out of market)
The early returns on a Miguel Cabrera bounceback look good (.300/.398/.457, 2 HR), and Nick Castellanos (.309/.364/.457, 1 HR) has been solid. A former Cubs prospect, Jeimer Candelario (.277/.355/.494, 3 HR) is enjoying the freedom playing time in Detroit affords him. Old friend JaCoby Jones (.293/.362/.512, 2 HR), sent away for Joakim Soria in 2015, has found regular playing time in left field.
Poor Jordan Zimmerman. He’s posted 9.92 K/9, 2.20 BB/9, 4.07 FIP, 3.93 xFIP ... and a .396 BABIP for a 7.71 ERA. Lefty Matt Boyd has neither struck out nor walked many. Michael Fulmer’s strikeouts are down, but that especially should correct itself. Twenty-three-year-old Joe Jimenez hasn’t allowed a run in 10 appearances, ascending to a setup role.
Four losses, close as some were, in Philadelphia, have the mood a bit more tempered among fans. If the Pirates are indeed to struggle against better teams and beat up on bad ones, they’ll need two or three wins this week before things ramp back up with the Cardinals, Nationals and Brewers.
Who wins The Cat Fight II?
This poll is closed