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Preview: Pirates-Marlins

The Pirates took 2 of 3 from the Marlins in Miami earlier this season.

Miami Marlins (54-57) at Pittsburgh Pirates (59-52)

@PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA

Starting tomorrow, the Pirates return to PNC Park to begin an 8-game home stand. The Miami Marlins are the first in town for a three-game series. After that, the Pirates will host the Padres and Tigers before heading back on the road. The Pirates are currently in 3rd place in the NL Central 1.5 games back of the Brewers. They sit a half game out of a Wild Card spot. 

Probable Starters:

Game 1: Charlie Morton (5-10, 3.54) vs. Brad Hand (2-3, 4.15)

Game 2: Jeff Locke (2-3, 3.77) vs. Tom Koehler (7-8, 3.70)

Game 3: Edinson Volquez (8-7, 3.91) vs. Jarred Cosart (0-1, 6.75)

Regular Season Rankings (From

MIA                                 PIT

R: 14th (450)                    9th (468)

BA: 17th (.252)                 9th (.257)

OBP: 15th (.317)              1st (.332)

ERA: 19th (3.84)               15th (3.71)

QS: 20th (56)                     20th (56)

WHIP: 21st (1.32)              15th (1.29)

BAA: 24th (.261)                 15th (.252)

The Marlins are led at the plate by former Pirate Casey McGehee and the prolific slugger Giancarlo Stanton. McGehee leads the team in average (.302) and also hits with 127. While Stanton is at the top in home runs with 26,Rbis with 74 and OBP at (.389).

On the mound the Marlins have a variety of young arms, if it weren't for losing Jose Fernandez, this would be one of the tougher rotations in the National League. Mike Dunn leads their arms in wins this year with 9. While Henderson Alvarez, the Fernandez replacement leads the team in ERA at 2.48. Tom Koehler leads the team in K's with 100. This is a promising young staff for the Marlins and we can't be sure what to expect from the three starters the Pirates will face. 

Miami is a much improved team this year. Currently, they are in 3rd place in the NL East, 7 games back of the first place Nationals. They are 10-7 since the All Star Break. They are on a slight skid as of late, 1-4 in their last 5 games. Before that they were winners of 6 straight in games against Atlanta, Houston and the Nationals. They are winning at a .422 clip on the road this year as they come to PNC Park. 

The Pirates took 2 of 3 from the Fish in Miami earlier this year. Going into the series you gotta like how the Pirates matchup against Miami. McCutchen and Walker are both questionable for the series opener tomorrow night. You would hope to get at least one of them back to start this series. The Pirates are coming off a 5-5 trip out West, underperforming to the standards of many. They need to win this series against Miami before a tough test against the Tigers. The Pirates are 34-21 at home this year, they win at PNC, hope to see the same this home stand. 

Coming into the series the Pirates pitching has been good of late, you are seeing starts from the rotation that give the Bucs a chance to win. The bullpen has held strong in games with a lead or where the Pirates couldn't afford to go up anymore, with the exception of a few bad appearances, they've been solid. 

The batting has been up and down for the Pirates. They scored a lot over the road-trip but tough to judge how well the hitters did. In the Arizona series it took the Pirates until the very end of the games to start an put something together. They are still leaving too many guys on but hey at least they're getting on. The Bucs are still trying to figure out who's gonna work out in that 4 hole, it's been an issue. Martin has continued to come through when you need him. Mercer played some good ball on the road. JHay has stayed hot, expect him to keep it going at home, he will be key in Cutch's absence. How about his last week: .400 avg, 10 runs, 3 2B, 1 triple, 4 HR and 5 RBI with a .455 OBP. Phew. 

The Pirates will be without Andrew McCutchen who was placed on the 15-day DL today. Who knows how long until he is back. Although he hasn't been great lately...Pirates lose their leader. He always puts on for the home crowd, gonna hurt not having him.

Prediction: Pirates take 2 of 3 from the Marlins, even without Cutch, in an important start to a very crucial home stand. PNC Crowd gonna lift the Pirates in this first series, need something to spark them without Cutch. Looks like the magic number for the Pirates is currently at 52, gonna be a nail biting rest of the way out.

Beat 'em Bucs