Gerrit Cole makes his second attempt to become the first 12-game winner
in the majors when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit the Detroit Tigers on
Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series. Cole will lock up
with Detroit’s Justin Verlander, who will be making only his third start
of the season after skipping his last turn due to back stiffness.
Despite owning one of the best records in baseball, Pittsburgh is
already staring at a wild card after falling nine games behind
first-place St. Louis in the National League Central. The Pirates have
lost six of nine after dropping a 2-1 decision in Sunday’s series finale
to visiting Atlanta. The Tigers enter the series off a dramatic
victory, rallying from a four-run deficit in the eighth inning before
prevailing on rookie James McCann’s walk-off homer against the Chicago
White Sox. Detroit won two of three at Pittsburgh in April, with the one
loss coming against Cole, who is 6-1 in eight interleague starts.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Detroit
LINE HISTORY: Sportsbooks opened the Tigers +109, which is where the line was sitting at the time of writing.
INJURY REPORT: Pittsburgh – C. Hart (15-day DL), A. Lambo (60-day DL), J. Sellers (60-day DL), B. Cumpton (out for season). Detroit – J. Verlander (Probable), K. Lobstein (15-day DL), A. Avila (15-day DL), J. Nathan (out for season).
WEATHER FORECAST: There is currently a 24 percent chance of precipitation at game time. The forecast is calling for temperatures of 76 degrees Fahrenheit in the Pittsburgh area.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Pirates treaded water last week but are still nine games over .500 with a +46 run differential. McCutchen is hurting a bit from being hit on the elbow by a pitch, but x-rays were negative and he won’t go on the DL. Pitching continues to be second only to Cards. We’re now finding out how much the Tigers missed Victor Martinez’s bat in their lineup. For a guy who can’t play the field anymore, V-Mart is awfully valuable to this team.” Covers Expert Al McMordie
HOT FAN WAR:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.16 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Justin Verlander (0-1, 6.17)
had his six-start winning streak halted in abrupt fashion, giving up
four first-inning runs and lasting a season-low 4 2/3 innings in a 5-2
setback versus Cincinnati. Cole was charged with five earned runs,
matching his total allowed from his previous six turns and marking the
first time he surrendered more than three runs this season. The former
No. 1 overall pick has been superb on the road with a 6-1 mark and 1.71
After a decent season debut in which he limited Cleveland to
two runs and three hits over seven innings, Verlander was rocked in his
next outing at the New York Yankees. The former Cy Young Award winner
and league MVP was tagged for six runs on 10 hits, three of which came
on home runs, over 6 2/3 innings. Verlander is 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA in
five starts against the Pirates and has kept center fielder Andrew
McCutchen (2-for-13) in check.
*Pirates are 6-1 in Coles last 7 road starts.
*Tigers are 4-1 in Verlanders last 5 starts vs. Pirates.
*Under is 8-1-1 in Coles last 10 starts overall.
*Pirates are 2-8 in the last 10 meetings in Detroit.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-nine percent of Covers Consensus users are currently on the Tigers.