Gerrit Cole (5-4, 2.77) vs. Tanner Roark (8-5, 3.01) – 7:05 p.m, MASN
On Saturday, Cole will be making his first start since June 10 after being on the disabled list because of a triceps injury. During his minor league rehab assignment, Cole gave up four hits in two starts and struck out 12.
Before Cole went on the disabled list, he had ERA’s of under three in each of the first two months and he gave up more than three runs in a start only once. Last season, the 25-year-old right-hander went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and threw over 200 innings.
Cole is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in three starts against the Washington Nationals and has given up four combined runs in those games. Wilson Ramos is 2-for-8 against Cole in his career with a home run and two RBI’s.
As I wrote about yesterday, I think Roark can be a second half X-Factor for the Washington Nationals. While Roark hasn’t started since July 6, he threw 2.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen in a win over the Mets on Sunday.
In two of Roark’s last three starts, he has been the pitcher who has helped the Washington Nationals from being swept or snapped a long losing streak. He has thrown seven innings or more in five of his last six outings. Plus, he has only one loss in his last eight starts.
Roark is 1-0 with a 4.66 ERA in three games (one start) against the Pirates with that start coming back in 2014. Andrew McCutchen is 1-for-2 against Roark with a home run and two RBI’s.
Prediction: This pitching matchup I think will be the best matchup out of the three games. If Cole can look like the pitcher he was before the injury, he should have a good outing against the Nats. This will be a low scoring game, but I think this is the one game Pittsburgh wins in this series.
Next: Sunday's Matchup