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Game Thread: Bucs look to take series from Phillies

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates hope to take the rubber match in this three-game home series again their cross-town rival Philadelphia Phillies at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Bucs will send right-hander Dario Agrazal (2-0, 2.45) to the mound to face the Phils’ newly-acquired lefty Drew Smyly (1-5, 8.42d.

Agrazal continues to be a pleasant surprise this summer, as he consistently eats innings and keeps the Pirates in games despite striking out just seven batters in 22 innings pitch. The underlying statistics are a little worrisome though, as his current xFIP on FanGraphs sits at an uncomfortable 6.64. That’s mostly fueled by a 17.3% soft contact rate (against a 34.7% hard hit rate) paired with just a 37.3% ground ball rate (against a 40% fly ball rate). We’ll see if this trend of solid pitching can continue for 24-year-old, but the numbers suggest some negative regression could be coming.

Meanwhile, Smyly will be making his first start for Philadelphia after the team signed him on Thursday. He was DFA’d by the Texas Rangers due to struggles as a starter and more recently as a long reliever. In his last two starts before moving to a bullpen role, Smyly gave up seven and five earned runs respectively in a combined 6.1 innings pitched. Sunday could start a better trend for Smyly in a new system, especially since the Pirates are ranked 29th in wOBA against lefty pitchers this season. We’ll see if he can avoid the long ball in a much better pitcher’s park in Pittsburgh.



1 R Scott Kingery CF

2 R Jean Segura SS

3 L Bryce Harper RF

4 R Rhys Hoskins 1B

5 L Brad Miller 3B

6 S Cesar Hernandez 2B

7 L Adam Haseley LF

8 S Andrew Knapp C

9 L Drew Smyly LHP



1 R Kevin Newman 2B

2 S Bryan Reynolds LF

3 R Starling Marte CF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 S Melky Cabrera RF

6 R Jose Osuna 3B

7 R Jung Ho Kang SS

8 R Elias Diaz C

9 R Dario Agrazal RHP