© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates Look to Win Fourth Straight Tonight against Padres

The first place buccos take on San Diego in the second of a four game seires

May 18, 2018 - 6:27 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – The First place Pittsburgh Pirates will look to keep their positive momentum going as they are set to take on San Diego in the second of a four game series on Friday at PNC Park. The Pirates (26-17) enter Friday having won eight of their last nine games and nine of their last 11 after defeating the Padres (17-28) 5-4 on Thursday night.

On the hill tonight for the Pirates will be veteran righthander Ivan Nova. In nine starts this season, Nova has a record of 2-3 with a 5.01 earned run average. Though Nova has struggled at times on the mound this season, he has a career long history of success when he pitches at PNC Park. In 20 career starts at home as a Pirate, Nova is 10-5 with a 2.82 ERA. In his last outing, Nova was dealt the loss after allowing four earned runs off of eight hits in 5.2 innings pitched on April 13 against the Giants.

Opposing Nova on the mound will be righthander, Tyson Ross. Ross is 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA in eight starts this season. In his five career starts against the Pirates he has a 1-2 record and 3.29 ERA which is the third lowest against any National League opponent in which he has faced five or more times. Though Ross has had success against Pittsburgh, the last time he has not faced the Buccos since July 7, 2015. In his last outing this season, Ross allowed just one run on three hits in 6.0 innings of work to lead the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals on April 12.

Making his major league debut today for the Pirates will be the franchises second ranked prospect, Austin Meadows. Meadows will play in centerfield and bat seventh. This season in AAA, Meadows hit .294 with ten doubles, a homerun, 15 runs batted in and eight stolen bases. Meadows was selected with the ninth pick in the first round by Pittsburgh in the 2013 First-Year player draft. He was called to the major leagues after Starling Marte was placed on the 10-day disabled listed due to a strained right oblique.

In addition to Meadows, the Pirate lineup will feature first basemen Josh Bell who is hitting .364 in the month of May. Bell’s .463 on base percentage and 1.099 OPS this month currently rank second and fifth in the National League. In fourteen games this Month Bell has four doubles, a triple, two homeruns and 10 RBI while reaching base safely in each contest.

Following their game on Friday night, the Pirates will play the Padres two more times to wrap up a nine game home stand. The Pirates are expected to call up rookie Nick Kingham to start on Saturday. In his two starts this season, Kinham is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 16 strikeouts.