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Series preview: Pirates face familiar faces vs. Nationals

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Josh Bell and Josh Harrison face the Buccos this week.

Miami Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates (23-41) vs. Washington Nationals (27-35), June 14-16, 2021

Location: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.

TV: AT&T Sports Pittsburgh

Radio: KDKA-AM

Nationals SB Nation Site: Federal Baseball


The Pirates look to snap their seven-game losing streak this week as they head to the nation’s capital to face the Nationals.

Here’s a look at what we can expect this week:

Projected Starters

Monday, 7:05 p.m. EST

JT Brubaker (4-5, 3.90 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (0-2, 4.19 ERA)

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. EST

Tyler Anderson (3-6, 4.52 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (3-5, 6.21 ERA)

Wednesday, 4:05 p.m. EST

Chase De Jong (0-0, 4.80 ERA) vs. TBD

Projected Lineups

Pirates

  1. Adam Frazier (2B)
  2. Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B)
  3. Bryan Reynolds (CF)
  4. Phillip Evans (1B)
  5. Jacob Stallings (C)
  6. Gregory Polanco (RF)
  7. Ben Gamel (LF)
  8. Kevin Newman (SS)
  9. Starting Pitcher

Nationals

  1. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
  2. Trea Turner (SS)
  3. Juan Soto (RF)
  4. Josh Bell (1B)
  5. Josh Harrison (2B)
  6. Starlin Castro (3B)
  7. Alex Avila (C)
  8. Victor Robles (CF)
  9. Starting Pitcher

The Pirates are losers of seven straight games coming into this series, their longest losing streak of the season.

Perhaps their fortunes will reverse themselves as they face a fellow division cellar dweller in the Washington Nationals.

This series marks the first time the Pirates will face former Bucco Josh Bell and the second time they will face Harrison.

Harrison spent the first eight years of his career in black and gold before departing for Detroit. He played two games against the Pirates with the Tigers in 2019, going 1-10 in two extra-inning wins for the Pirates. Now, he’s in DC and he’s teamed up with his former Pittsburgh teammate, Josh Bell.

Bell spent the first five years of his career in Pittsburgh and is struggling in his first year with the Nats, batting a career-low .216. However, Bell’s bat would probably suffice in the Pirates current lineup, especially with the lack of production at first base since Colin Moran began his latest injury spell.

Harrison, on the other hand, has been one of Washington’s best players this season. His .279 average ranks second on the team behind Trae Turner, and yesterday, he racked up four hits in four at-bats in a 5-0 win for the Nats.

Outside of the former Buccos, the Nationals haven’t been able to capitalize from their World Series success in 2019. Their lineup top to bottom has struggled overall, but they are still a talented bunch that are looking for a spark that can get them back in the thick of things in the NL East. Despite finding themselves in last place, they currently sit just seven games back in the division. On this day two years ago, the Nats were five games under .500 and 8.5 games back in the division. They would go on to win the World Series that year. Perhaps this is the series they need to get them back on track.

For the Pirates, anything but a sweep would likely be seen as a positive. This team is in a slump and one win could do a lot for morale, especially a win on the road, which the team hasn’t had since May 20.