The Cubs lost the opening edition of their doubleheader today, so it’s a chance for the Pirates to pick up at least a half game on them today. If you’ll believe it, there are only two teams outside the NL Central in the entire league who are further out of first place in their respective division than the Pirates, and those are the hapless Braves and Twins, who are both in super-last place (an official term). It’s incredible that, other than those two, everyone in the NL Central is further out of first than any other team, but that's how the Cubs have been playing this year.
The Pirates need to take advantage of the losses when they can if they want to slowly climb back into the divisional race. Juan Nicasio takes the mound with an ERA that ballooned from 3.16 to 4.02 on Tuesday, despite him having simply sat through a postponed game due to a change in scoring from his last start. He’s been all over the place this year, giving up lots of walks in some starts, lots of walks and lots of hits in some starts, and being pretty strong in other starts. Joey Votto is out of the lineup, which should ease the burden on Nicasio a bit.
First pitch is at 7:10pm EDT from Great American Ballpark, with a low 15% chance of precipitation tonight.