By Jared Lankes
The Pirates took advantage of a lowly team by taking 2 of 3 from the Brewers. Glimpses of the offense and the pitching staff’s potential showed throughout the series. Now, they shift their attention to another lowly team, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Friday: Gerrit Cole (5-5 3.11 ERA) vs Zach Eflin (2-3 4.14) 7:05 ET
Gerrit Cole was not great his first start back from the DL. However, it is almost a certainty that he will figure it out. The Pirates hope it’s sooner rather than later. Even if they can get close to what they got from Cole last year, it’d be a huge boost. It hopefully starts against a Phillies squad that has been offensively-challenged for the most part. For the Phillies, it’s Zach Eflin. He is a good pitcher, but there are certainly no eye-popping features to him to this point. If Cole can be good, the Pirates will have a good shot.
Saturday: TBA vs Aaron Nola (5-8 4.41 ERA) 4:05 ET
There is no starter announced for the Pirates yet, but all signs point to it being Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow will get his second big league start after looking okay in his first one. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s a one start thing or more. It might depend on him. For the Phillies, it’s one of the bright young arms in the game, Aaron Nola. In the midst of a bad year, it’s just a matter of time before he figures it out. The Pirates hope he waits a bit longer to do that. Nonetheless, this is a very intriguing pitching matchup of two young righties that’ll headline the NL in just a few short years.
Sunday: Jameson Taillon (2-1 3.44 ERA) vs Vince Velasquez (8-2 3.15 ERA) 1:35 ET
Talk about two good young pitchers. These two are very bright as well. Firstly, Jameson Taillon; he is shockingly able to make this start after getting hit in the head by a line drive but stayed in the game to pitch six great innings. It’ll be interesting to see how he rebounds. On the other end, it’s Vince Velasquez. Acquired in the massive Ken Giles deal over the winter, Velasquez has looked really good since joining the Phillies rotation. He owns a top notch strikeout rate and has looked phenomenal doing it. The batters of the Pirates will have a lot on their hands on Sunday.
The Pirates certainly look to continue to take advantage of an easier schedule that has been paved for them. The goal is obviously just to win series’. A sweep would always be preferable, but let’s start with 2 of 3 first. The Pirates are sending their future top 3 rotation guys out there one after the other with Cole, Glasnow, and then Taillon. This is rather exciting stuff if you are a fan of the Pirates, or just the game in general. There will certainly be some good, young pitchers on the hill this weekend in Pittsburgh.