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Game Thread: Steven Brault takes on the Cardinals

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the end of an era as Phil Coyne both celebrates his 100th birthday and is given a retirement party. Perhaps it’s the beginning of another as the return of Jung-ho Kang is officially announced. Amidst al that, there’s a ball game as Steven Brault (2-1, 4.44) faces off against the Cardinals and former Bucs’ acquisition Miles Mikolas (3-0, 3.46)

The Pirates had obtained Mikolas and Jaff Decker from the San Diego Padres in November of 2013 for Alex Dickerson, but just five weeks later flipped him to the Texas Rangers for the long since forgotten Chris McGuiness. While with the Padres Mikolas had made 27 relief appearances good for a 3.44 ERA, but the following year with Texas was battered for a 6.44 ERA in 10 starts. That was enough to earn a release at the end of the year and Mikolas headed to Japan, where he posted ERAs of 1.92, 2.45 and 2.25 in three seasons totally 62 starts. This past winter he signed with the Cardinals and has won three of his first four starts, while walking only two and striking out 20 in 26 innings.

Mikolas has averaged 94.1 mph on his fastball this year. He uses a four-seamer 40% of his pitches and the two-seamer another 23%, tossing in a curve 21% and slider 11% of the time.

The Pirates counter with the lineup that manager Clint Hurdle has settled into everyday use against right-handed starters.

The Cardinals have new comer Marcell Ozuna batting cleanup, with all the other names in their lineup familiar from last year.

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CARDINALS

1 R Tommy Pham CF

2 S Dexter Fowler RF

3 R Jose Martinez 1B

4 R Marcell Ozuna LF

5 R Yadier Molina C

6 R Paul DeJong SS

7 R Jedd Gyorko 3B

8 L Kolton Wong 2B

9 R Miles Mikolas RHP

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PIRATES

1 L Adam Frazier 2B

2 L Gregory Polanco RF

3 R Starling Marte CF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Corey Dickerson LF

6 R Francisco Cervelli C

7 L Colin Moran 3B

8 R Jordy Mercer SS

9 L Steven Brault LHP