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Game Thread: Nova against the Cards in sweltering St. Louis

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night the Pirates will go up against Cardinals’ rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty (7-6, 2.97) for the fifth time this year, but it will be the first time he won’t face Trevor Williams who is scheduled to start tomorrow. This time around the rotation spun to Ivan Nova (7-8, 4.20)

In 21 starts Flaherty has struck out 11.2 batters per 9 innings, and in his four previous appearances against the Pirates has allowed seven runs (0, 1, 3 and 3) in 22 innings (2.86 ERA) The Cardinals won the last three of those four games. Flaherty throws his fastball at an average of 93.0 mph this year and the only off speed pitch he uses with any frequency is the slider at 31%. His career splits are very even, allowing a .647 OPS to right-handed batters and .669 to lefties.

Those left/right splits have however been a major problem for Nova this year and in most of his career, as in 2018 he’s allowed left-handed batters to average a .832 OPS against him on a 288/326/506 line, compared to a .725 OPS (252/291/434) by right-handers. However, the only lefty swinger sin tonight’s Cardinals lineup are Matt Carpenter and Greg Garcia. Nova’s been pitching better in the second half, with a 3.49 ERA in his last 13 starts, allowing four or more runs only twice, and five times allowing one or fewer - but the Pirates have only scored one run total over Nova’s last two starts.

Adam Frazier remains in the lineup, batting second and playing second base in the absence of the hobbled Josh Harrison, and Adeinys Hechevarria gets the start at short as Jordy Mercer remains on the disabled list.

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PIRATES

1 RStarling Marte CF

2 L Adam Frazier 2B

3 L Gregory Polanco RF

4 R Francisco Cervelli C

5 L Corey Dickerson LF

6 S Josh Bell 1B

7 L Colin Moran 3B

8 R Adeinys Hechevarria SS

9 R Ivan Nova RHP

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CARDINALS

1 L Matt Carpenter 1B

2 R Yadier Molina C

3 R Jose Martinez RF

4 R Tyler O’Neill LF

5 R Paul DeJong SS

6 R Jedd Gyorko 3B

7 R Harrison Bader CF

8 L Greg Garcia 2B

9 R Jack Flaherty RHP