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Game thread: Pirates go with Sunday lineup on Thursday in effort to avoid sweep

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates will send Trevor Williams against the Nationals for a 1:05pm start as they hope to avoid a second consecutive four-game sweep at the hands of an NL East team. Williams will face the daunting task of shutting down feared Washington slugger Bry.. Mat.. Wilmer Difo.

Opposing Williams will be Jeremy Hellickson, who’s in the process of reinventing himself as a soft-tosser. He now throws the sort of 89 mph fastball that the Pirates seem to find baffling. And, in fact, they struggled with him in two games last year, managing just seven hits in 12 innings. So far this year he’s been serviceable for the Nats, with a 4.11 ERA and 4.52 xFIP, with just a 5.3 K/9.

Clint Hurdle continues to use lineup cards that come with the positions already printed on them.

Pirates

  1. Adam Frazier, 2B
  2. Gregory Polanco, RF
  3. Starling Marte, CF
  4. David Freese, 1B
  5. Corey Dickerson, LF
  6. Elias Diaz, C
  7. Colin Moran, 3B
  8. Sean Rodriguez, SS
  9. Trevor Williams, P

Nationals

  1. Bryce Harper, RF
  2. Trea Turner, SS
  3. Matt Adams, LF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  5. Howie Kendrick, 2B
  6. Michael Taylor, CF
  7. Matt Wieters, C
  8. Jeremy Hellickson, P
  9. Wilmer Difo, 3B