Pittsburgh Pirates (55-57 SU, 57-55 RL, 44-62-6 O/U) vs. Detroit Tigers (51-60 SU, 55-56 RL, 57-48-6 O/U)
MLB: Wednesday, August 9, 2017, Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan, 7:10 pm ET
Lines: Detroit -135, Pittsburgh +125; Over/Under: 9
It’s the continuation of a four game, two city interleague set in the Motor City. The Pittsburgh Pirates take to the road as they begin the second half of their set with the Detroit Tigers Wednesday night. Pittsburgh won the opening game of the series as they took a 3-0 victory at home Monday night. The pitching matchup for Tuesday’s game in Pittsburgh to close that half of the set saw Matt Boyd pitch for Detroit against Pittsburgh’s Chad Kuhl. First pitch in that contest was set for 7:05 pm ET.
Pittsburgh Pirates Trying to Stay in NL Central Picture
Even with Monday’s win, the Pirates have let a glorious opportunity to make some hay in the NL Central go by the wayside. In this stretch of 19 straight games against sub-.500 teams, the Pirates have gone just 6-7 entering Tuesday with six games to play. They sit 4.5 games out of the NL Central lead. Monday night, it was pitching that carried the day as the team had just five hits. Francisco Cervelli (run, RBI) staked the Pirates to a 1-0 lead with a RBI double in the second inning and John Jaso added a two-run shot, his eighth, in the seventh to extend the lead. Trevor Williams (5-4) was razor sharp, tossing seven scoreless frames, allowing one hit with two walks and five strikeouts. Juan Nicasio pitched the ninth, striking out a pair, for his second save.
Ivan Nova takes the hill for his 23rd start of the season for the Pirates in this contest. He is 10-8 with a 3.66 ERA, a 1.185 WHIP, 19 walks and 89 strikeouts over 142.2 innings of action this season. Nova recorded a no-decision in his last contest, which came at home against the Padres Friday night. He threw six innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in an eventual 10-6 Pittsburgh victory. Nova is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP, three walks and 16 strikeouts over 16 innings in his last three starts. He is 0-2 with a 6.66 ERA and a 1.808 WHIP over 24.1 innings in his five appearances, four starts, against the Tigers in his career. Nova is 0-2 with an 8.25 ERA and a 1.667 WHIP over 12 innings in three career appearances, two starts, at Comerica Park.
Detroit Tigers Looking to 2018?
Detroit did nothing offensively in Monday’s loss and, sitting six games off the pace in the wild card race, the team is likely looking to next year at this point in time. The Tigers mustered all of one hit in the defeat, with James McCann’s leadoff single in the third all they could put on the board. McCann went on to steal second with no outs but would go no further. Detroit wouldn’t advance a runner past first base the rest of the game. The lack of offense doomed Jordan Zimmermann (7-9), who took the loss despite a quality start: he allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts over seven innings.
Justin Verlander takes the mound for his 24th start of the year for the Tigers. He comes in 7-7 with a 4.20 ERA, a 1.409 WHIP, 60 walks and 136 strikeouts over 137 innings of work this season. Verlander picked up the win in his last start, which came Friday on the road against the Orioles. He threw seven innings allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts in 5-2 Tigers victory. Verlander is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, five walks and 25 strikeouts over 20 innings in his last three starts. He makes his eighth career start against the Pirates in this contest. Verlander is 4-2 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.269 WHIP over 43.1 innings in those starts. He is 95-50 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.156 WHIP over 1,233.2 innings in his 185 career starts at Comerica Park.
- Pirates are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a losing record
- Pirates are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Pirates are 0-5 in their last 5 interleague road games
- Tigers are 41-10 in their last 51 interleague home games vs. a team with a losing record
- Tigers are 9-3 in their last 12 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days
Should Pittsburgh indeed miss the postseason, they’ll have only themselves to blame. Playing sub-.500 ball in a stretch that featured three against the Giants, six against the Padres, three against the Reds, four against the Tigers and three against Toronto is unacceptable for a team that has postseason aspirations. Detroit knows their chances have just about evaporated for the postseason but Verlander seems to have snapped back into his vintage form. On the flip side, Nova is scuffling and that’s the difference in the game. Look for Detroit to emerge victorious in this contest.