Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton and Colorado’s Brett Anderson each had one ugly inning in his final start before the All-Star break.
While the Pirates should feel confident in Morton bouncing back, the Rockies can’t be sure what to expect from Anderson.
Morton looks to continue his dominance at PNC Park on Saturday night with a fourth straight home win while Anderson makes his first major league road start in more than three months.
After allowing three baserunners through five innings last Saturday at Cincinnati, Morton (5-9, 3.32 ERA) let five runs across in the sixth – all on a pair of homers – before Pittsburgh (50-46) rallied for a 6-5 win in 11.
"Pitches got flat, elevated. From the get-go, I couldn’t locate that inning," Morton told MLB’s official website.
The big inning has been an issue for Morton, who has surrendered at least three runs in one inning nine times this season – including three in his last five starts.
None of those recent outings has come at home. Morton has posted a 1.10 ERA in his last five starts at PNC, and he’s only given up one home run over 50 2-3 innings this season in Pittsburgh, way back on April 18.
The right-hander, who’s 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two career starts at PNC against Colorado (40-56), has given up 0.26 homers per nine innings at home over the past two seasons – third-best in the majors among the 117 pitchers with at least 100 home innings.
It might be a bit tougher to predict how Anderson (0-3, 4.95) will fare six days after giving up five first-inning runs in a 13-5 home loss to Minnesota, his first start since breaking his left index finger April 12.
He at least responded well over his final four innings Sunday, holding the Twins to three hits and one unearned run.
”My stuff was terrible, pretty much,” Anderson said. ”I’ll put this one behind me. I feel good about staying healthy and go to my next one.”
This will be Anderson’s first career look at the Pirates, who will face their second straight left-hander after seeing only 12 southpaw starters in the first half – by far the fewest in the majors.
Pittsburgh didn’t have much luck against Jorge De La Rosa in Friday’s opener, scoring once in six innings, but fared better against the Rockies’ NL-worst bullpen. Trailing 2-1, the Pirates scored once in the seventh when Adam Ottavino hit Starling Marte in the head with the bases loaded, then took the lead on Travis Snider’s pinch-hit single in the eighth en route to a 4-2 win.
”When you don’t see (reserves) on the bench, we’re not hanging out eating sunflower seeds, we’re actually doing something,” said Snider, who has a major league-most 11 pinch hits. ”We really just try to feed off each other in that sense and have a routine you can stick with it.”
Troy Tulowitzki walked twice but went 0 for 3 on Friday and has hit .176 in his last 10 games in Pittsburgh after batting .481 in his first 14 contests there. Tulowitzki is 1 for 10 lifetime against Morton.
He still had a far better Friday than Carlos Gonzalez, who struck out in all five of his at-bats, making him the first NL player to do so since Marte against Atlanta on April 18, 2013.
Andrew McCutchen went 0 for 3 with a walk, dropping his OPS at home to 1.083 – still the second-best in baseball behind Tulowitzki’s numbers at Coors Field.
McCutchen hasn’t gone consecutive home games without a hit since the Pirates’ first series of the season.