When the two teams with the lowest batting averages in MLB get together for a three-game series, it’s a safe bet that it’s not going to be a slugfest. Although the Pirates and the Cleveland Indians have played exhibition games against each other this season, this series will mark not only the first official games between the two teams, but also their lone series played at PNC Park.
What the Indians lack in current wood power is more than made up for with their pitching, with their staff sporting an impressive 2.43 ERA. Leading the way is Shane Beiber, who’s currently 4-0 and seemingly unhittable these days. The Tribe’s staff took a hit of another kind, though, when Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac got optioned to Cleveland’s Double A affiliate after deciding to sneak out and hang with their buds while they were in Chicago. You know—while there’s a pandemic going on. So the Bucs won’t see them, but they will see Bieber (on Thursday), Carlos Carrasco tonight and Aaron Civale tomorrow night. And not all the Indian bats are dead; RF/DH Franmil Reyes has been tearing it up as of late, with a .316 BA, five homers and 15 ribbies.
As for the Bucs, they had another COVID-fueled break this weekend after a Cincinnati Red tested positive on Friday. Last time that happened, they scored nine runs in the first two innings in their first game back. Rests seem to do them good, so let’s hope recent history repeats itself.