5-19-23 – By Christian Wolf – @CWolfPGH on Twitter
When & Who
Arizona Diamondbacks (25-19) at Pittsburgh Pirates (23-20)
Game 1 – (5/19, 6:35 EST)
For the Pirates – Johan Oviedo (2-3, 5.14 ERA)
For the D-Backs – Zac Gallen (6-1, 2.35)
Game 2 – (5/20, 4:05 EST)
For the Pirates – Mitch Keller (5-1, 2.38 ERA )
For the D-Backs – Brandon Pfaadt (0-1, 8.59 ERA)
Game 3 – (5/21, 1:35 EST)
For the Pirates – Roansy Contreras (3-4, 4.40 ERA)
For the D-Backs – Merrill Kelly (4-3, 2.92 ERA)
Arizona has won three of their past four series, most recently in Oakland. Arizona’s rotation ranks around average in MLB in terms of ERA at 4.36 and has 206 strikeouts in 232 innings pitched. Their bullpen ranks a little lower across the board and should be a weaker point should the Pirates manage to knock their starters out of the game relatively early. The Diamondbacks’ offense is one of the best in baseball this year, with a team OPS of .773, although they’ve only hit 48 home runs as a team. When they are on the bases, they will be active, ranking inside the top ten in stolen bases.
Pittsburgh just split a two-game series in Detroit, with the 2nd game finally being a breakout for the offense. The Pirates’ pitching has been some of the best this year, with the rotation ranking 9th in baseball and the bullpen 6th in terms of ERA. The Pirates remain first in baseball in stolen bases with fifty, but the team OPS has slowed as of late, dropping them to 15th in MLB.
For the D-Backs – Ketel Marte – Marte collected a hit in each game against Oakland, including multi-hit games in two of the three. He went 6-for-14 in that series, bringing his OPS for the year over .800.
For the Pirates – Andrew McCutchen – Cutch has hits in each of his past three games, including two hits in his most recent game against Detroit. He is 8-for-26 over his past seven games (.307) and continues to bolster an impressive .812 OPS.
For the D-Backs – Josh Rojas – Rojas went just 2-for-9 against Oakland, with just one walk. He has yet to hit a home run this season and his OPS has dropped to .653.
For the Pirates – Ke’Bryan Hayes – Hayes is just 1-for-13 in his last three games, with four strikeouts in that span. He is also just batting .111 (3-27) over his last seven games.
Series Overview & Prediction
Well, if you take a very small sample, the Pirates have won two of their last three games. Unfortunately, taking a much larger sample, the Diamondbacks have won eight of their last thirteen games, and have looked like a top NL team as of late. The good news for the Pirates is, despite the slide they have been on recently, they are still in a good position in the NL Central to stay near the top of the division. But the current series against Arizona won’t make that easy. The Pirates pitching has done its job for the majority of this season, but the offense needs to show some consistency. Zac Gallen will give an immediate test, but the D-Backs pitching staff as a whole isn’t the best, so this might be an area for the Pirates to take advantage of. We’ll see.