© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs take on St Louis in Chris Archer's Debut

The newly acquired Pirates ace looks to take on the Cardinals tonight at PNC Park.

August 03, 2018 - 5:32 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – After having the day off yesterday, the Pirates will take on St. Louis tonight at PNC Park in one of the most highly anticipated games so far this season.

Pittsburgh (56-53) and the Cardinals (56-53) enter Friday tied for possession of third place in the National League central division and are both 4.0 games back of the second wild card spot.

The main reason tonight’s contest is surrounded with so much excitement is because newly acquired starting pitcher, Chris Archer will be making his first start for the Pirates since coming to the team in a trade from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

The two-time All Star has had a bit of a down year in 2018, going 3-5 with a 4.31 earned run average in the 17 games he started for the Rays.

Archer has been much better in his last eight starts, posting a 2.70 ERA and striking out 50 batters in only 43.1 innings of work. In his final outing before being dealt, Archer was the losing pitcher in a 15-5 loss the Rays suffered to the Baltimore Orioles on July 27.

Despite being the losing pitcher, Archer had a solid outing, allowing just three earned runs off of six hits and two walks while striking out three in 6.0 innings of work. Archer has only one career start against the Cardinals in his seven year major league career, where he allowed one run off of seven hits in 7.0 strong innings on August 27, 2017.

Opposing Archer in his Pirates debut will be right hander, John Gant. Gant has been used as both a starter and a reliever this season for the Cardinals, going 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA in 15 total appearances on the mound.

 In his eight starts this year, Gant is 1-4 with a 3.80 ERA. Gant took the place of Michael Wacha in the Cardinals rotation after he was placed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain. In his last outing, Gant was dealt his fourth loss of the season after going just 4.1 innings, allowing three runs, two earned off of four hits and two walks while striking out four in the Cardinals 5-2 loss to the division leading Chicago Cubs on July 29.

In the leadoff spot tonight for the Bucs will be left handed hitter, Adam Frazier who will be starting in left field. Since being recalled to the majors on July 25, Frazier has hit .412 (7-17) with four doubles.

Frazier had a three hit game in his last start at the top of the order, which gave the Pirates a 5-0 win over the New York Mets on July 28.

Following their game tonight, the Bucs will take on the Red Birds twice more before hitting the road to the West Coast where they will play the Colorado Rockies for three games and the San Francisco Giants in four games.

Like the Cardinals, both the Rockies and the Giants are also still in the hunt for the second NL wild card spot as we enter the last two months of the regular season.

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