© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates Begin Four Game Series Against Padres

Buccos look to stay hot against last place San Diego.

May 17, 2018 - 6:06 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Following their sweep in their two game sweep against the Chicago White Sox the Pirates will begin a four game series against the San Diego Padres on Thursday evening to conclude a nine game homestand.

The Pirates (25-17) enter Thursday tied for first place of the National League Central division after winning eight of their last ten games including seven of their last eight. The Padres (17-17) currently sit in last place in the National League west.

On the mound today for the Pirates is right hander, Chad Kuhl. In eight starts this season, Kuhl has a 4-2 record with a 4.17 ERA and has struck out a team high 42 batters. In his last time out, Kuhl received a no decision after he went six innings allowing three earned runs while striking out six in a Pirates 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants. In two career starts against the Padres, Kuhl is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA.

Opposing Kuhl will be rookie lefty Eric Lauer. In his four career major league starts which have all come this season, Lauer is 1-2 with a 8.27 ERA. Last time out, Lauer allowed a career-high seven runs on seven hits and a walk in the Padres 9-5 loss to the Cardinals on May 11.    

Returning to the lineup after exiting Tuesday’s game early and having Wednesday off is catcher Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli currently leads all major league backstops in hitting with a .302 batting average. He will bat third on Friday night as centerfielder Starling Marte will miss his second straight game. In addition to Cervelli, the Bucco lineup will feature Corey Dickerson in leftfield and Sean Rodriguez in centerfield. This season both have done exceptionally well at the plate against lefties with Dickerson hitting .375 (9-24) and Rodriguez hitting .368 (7-19).

The Pirates are 7-2 in their last nine contests at home against the Padres, which dates back to 2015. Prior to that, the Pirates had never won a series against the Friars at PNC Park. Overall this season, the Pirates have gone 10-3-1 in series including a 5-1-1 record in series played at home.