By Jared Lankes
The Pirates clawed and scratched their way to a series win over the Phillies, making it a 4-2 week against lowly teams. You can’t ask for much more than that. The dream of seeing Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, and Jameson Taillon all back to back was realized this weekend. However, it became more of a nightmare when Glasnow left with shoulder discomfort and Taillon had a shaky start at best. Despite all of this, they won the series, which is all you can ask for. Now, they set their sights on the Mariners, a team that has been up and down and average most of the year. It’s a brief two game series, so get ready for that.
Tuesday: Francisco Liriano (6-9 4.96 ERA) vs Felix Hernandez (4-4 3.23 ERA) 7:05 ET
Francisco Liriano turned in his best start of the year on Thursday against Milwaukee. He’s been on a roll of looking more and more like vintage Liriano over his last few starts. He looks to continue that against the Mariners, and the Pirates could certainly use it. For the Mariners, it’s King Felix. Still one of the best pitchers in the league, Felix Hernandez is still very capable of dominance. Nobody really ever wants to face Hernandez, but that’s the task the Pirates bats were given. This will be a test for both teams’ lineups. I expect a little amount of runs in this game.
Wednesday: Gerrit Cole (5-6 2.99 ERA) vs James Paxton (3-4 4.18 ERA) 7:05 ET
Gerrit Cole seems to have started to shape back into form after giving up just 1 run over 6 innings against the Phillies. It wasn’t the sharpest of outings, but it’s a start for sure. He will try to continue getting back to the Gerrit Cole of old against the Mariners. For the Mariners, it’s southpaw James Paxton. Paxton hasn’t been able to quite find his footing in the MLB yet. He’s not a bad pitcher, but he was certainly supposed to be better than what he’s been to this point. The Pirates will look to take advantage of Paxton while he’s not at his best. The Pirates could certainly stand to give Cole some run support this time around.
This series will be telling for both teams. They share similar records and both will send their aces to the hill for one of the games. A series split seems like the most reasonable conclusion, but two-game series’ can be a little tricky.