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Game Thread: Musgrove tries to stop the carnage in Phoenix

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Oakland Athletics v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Despite their 9-3 loss to the Diamondbacks last night, the Pirates have won nine of their last twelve games, but that doesn’t hide the fact that they’ve lost a bajillion in a row to Arizona, dating back to (at least) last year. Tonight at 9:40 p.m. Eastern the Pirates give it another go in Phoenix as Joe Musgrove (1-4, 4.20) faces Luke Weaver (3-1, 2.98)

Musgrove, like many in the Pirates’ rotation, started the year hot as he allowed no runs in his first two starts, then six in next three, but the wheels totally fell off in his last two starts, allowing 13 runs and 12 hits in only 5 23 inning, while uncharacteristically walking seven while only striking out four. After having thrown 69% strikes in his first five starts, that’s dropped to 59% in the last two, and his swing and miss rate dropped from 13% to 8%.

Musgrove has been quite tough on right-handed batters this year, allowing a 188/278/259 batting line that includes a .246 BABIP for a 51 sOPS+ rating (relative to league average), while left-handed batters have fared much better, with a 282/338/423 line, .339 BABIP and 103 sOPS+

Weaver is on an opposite roll, having allowed one or fewer runs in four of his last five starts, and has an ERA of 2.00 over his last six, covering 36 innings, with 6 walks and 43 strikeouts. One of the games in that streak was on April 23 in Pittsburgh, which Arizona won by a 2-1 score.

Elias Diaz will spell Francisco Cervelli at catcher, and Melky Cabrera replaces Bryan Reynolds in left field as Gregory Polanco returns to right field to face the right-handed Weaver.

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PIRATES

1 L Adam Frazier 2B

2 R Starling Marte CF

3 L Gregory Polanco RF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 S Melky Cabrera LF

6 L Colin Moran 3B

7 R Elias Diaz C

8 S Cole Tucker SS

9 R Joe Musgrove RHP

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DIAMONDBACKS

1 S Ketel Marte CF

2 S Eduardo Escobar 3B

3 L David Peralta LF

4 R Adam Jones RF

5 R Flores Flores 2B

6 R Christian Walker 1B

7 R Nick Ahmed SS

8 R Carson Kelly C

9 R Luke Weaver RHP