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Game Thread: Chris Archer debuts at home against the Cardinals

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Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pirates’ newly acquired right-hander Chris Archer will make his Pittsburgh debut in a game Friday night at PNC Park against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In other roster notes, Wednesday’s starting pitcher Nick Kingham has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room for reliever Keone Kela, acquired in a trade from the Texas Rangers, and recently ineffective left-handed reliever Steven Brault was also option to Triple-A, replaced by right-handed reliever Dovydas Neverauskus.

Archer (3-5, 4.31) was obtained in a deadline trade on Tuesday for two of the Pirates’ top young players, outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow, along with a player to be named later. He has long been a target of Pittsburgh General Manager Neil Huntington, for whom Archer was once a minor league player in the Indians’ system. Archer had a 5.64 ERA after his first nine starts this year, but over his last eight has posted a much improved 2.70 mark along with a .672 OPS allowed. Overall this year he’s been better vs right-handed batters to a tune of a .711 OPS allowed vs .806 by left-handers, with one of the big reasons a 27.0% k-rate against right-handers and only 21.6% against left-handers. Archer’s fastball this year has averaged 94.6 mph, down a full tick from last year but consistent with all his prior years back to 2012. He throw his 4-seamer 40% of the time, 2-seamer 14%, slider 38% and change 8%.

The Cardinals also underwent several roster changes in the last few days, trading away starting outfielder Tommy Pham and reliever Sam Tuivailala, designating for assignment relievers Tyler Lyons and Greg Holland, and placing on the disabled list starting pitcher Carlos Martinez, reliever Luke Gregerson and second baseman Kolten Wong.

Their starting pitcher will be rookie right-hander John Gant (3-4, 3.49), making his ninth start to go with seven relief appearances. At Triple-A he has a 5-1 record with a 1.65 ERA this season. He started against Pittsburgh once before, on May 25, in a game the Pirates won 8-1. Gant has a 93.0 mph fastball along with a change and curve.

St. Louis manager Mike Shildt has only two left-handed batters in his lineup against Archer, and has Yadier Molina batting second.

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CARDINALS

1 L Matt Carpenter 1B

2 R Yadier Molina C

3 R Paul DeJong SS

4 R Marcell Ozuna LF

5 R Tyler O’Neill CF

6 R Jedd Gyorko 3B

7 S Dexter Fowler RF

8 R Yairo Munoz 2B

9 R John Gant RHP

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PIRATES

1 L Adam Frazier LF

2 R Starling Marte CF

3 L Gregory Polanco RF

4 R David Freese 1B

5 L Colin Moran 3B

6 R Francisco Cervelli C

7 R Josh Harrison 2B

8 R Jordy Mercer SS

9 R Chris Archer RHP