The San Diego Padres, who have been one of the most productive lineups since the All-Star break, will attempt to even their weekend series tonight with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are hoping for another offensive explosion, as they’ve seen occur against other NL Central opponents the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Friars send Eric Stults (4-13, 4.94 ERA) to the bump tonight. Stults looks to continue building on one of his best outings of the year last time out, as he tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, and only two hits against the Atlanta Braves.
Taking on those pesky Padres, is lefty Francisco Lirano. Liriano (3-7, 3.91 ERA) has been pitching better than his record indicates. He hasn’t allowed more than four hits to his opponents over each of his past seven starts. The Pirates are fighting not only for a divisional crown in the NL Central, but to pad a wild card lead. Liriano is 2-0, with an ERA of 1.76 since the start of the second half.
The Padres, who recently got infielder Jedd Gyorko back from the disabled list, has been absolutely raking since his comeback to the every day lineup. While he’s only hitting .278 (10-for-36 in 10 games), his power numbers and middle-of-the-order production has been there. Gyorko has 2 doubles, 2 bombs, and 8 driven in over that same period since his return.
The Pirates will attempt to maintain on offense, but are without their reigning NL MVP, Andrew McCutchen, who suffered an oblique injury earlier this past week, and is on the disabled list. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez has been banged up as well, but with the depth and youth on this team, the Pirates, and Manager of the Year candidate, Clint Hurdle, will give the Padres a difficult battle.