Major League Baseball
Phillies-Pirates preview
Major League Baseball

Phillies-Pirates preview

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 12:53 a.m. ET

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies entered their weekend series hoping for some improvement on offense -- more of it, and more consistency with it.

Philadelphia won round one of that game within the game with a 4-0 win Friday.

Pittsburgh is 3-4 since the All-Star break and has been outscored 30-16. The Pirates had scored five runs in each of their two games before being shut out Friday, but had just six runs combined in the other four games since the break and were limited to three hits Friday by Phillies rookie Zach Eflin.

"We're looking for pitches to hit," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're looking for one pitch in one zone at the start of the at-bat. We're looking for the ball up and out over the plate. We're not looking for pitches down early. We had balls to hit, and we didn't hit them that well. We had some swings. At the end of the day, we only had three hits (Friday)."


Two of those came from Jason Jaso, on a double and a single, and Josh Harrison had the other. The players in top four spots in the lineup went a combined 0-for-13 with a hit-by-pitch producing the only baserunner.

The Phillies got their four runs Friday on 11 hits off of four Pirates pitchers. Before that game, they were 2-5 since the break and had been outscored 27-17. They scored just 10 runs in four games against the Marlins.

That kind of inconsistent production had manager Pete Mackanin nervous when his club scored just once Friday in the sixth despite loading the bases with no outs. Philadelphia added another with two outs in the seventh, but the game felt tight until Cameron Rupp hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the four-run margin.

"That gave us a little breathing room," Mackanin said.

The teams will each be facing a young starter Saturday.

Pittsburgh had been guarded about its starter until after Friday's game, when Hurdle confirmed that, "We expect (Tyler) Glasnow to make the start."

The rookie right-hander, who will need to be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, will be making his second career start. In his debut July 7, a 5-1 Pirates loss at St. Louis, Glasnow took the loss after giving up four runs on three hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.

The Phillies will go with right-hander Aaron Nola (5-8, 4.41 ERA).

Nola had a rough stretch when he had a 13.50 ERA and did not go beyond five innings any of five starts in a row. Philadelphia opted to skip his final start before the All-Star game so he could "clear his head," Mackanin said.

"I understand what they did," Nola told "We don't want to miss any starts. But, at the end of the day, my arm feels good. That's the important thing, being healthy and maintaining your health."

Monday, after what stretched into a 16-day layoff, Nola allowed no runs in six innings, with two hits and one walk, in what later turned into a 3-2, 11-inning loss to Florida.

"It was a tough month for me back in June," said Nola, who relaxed during the All-Star break by fishing. "But those two weeks off felt like a really long time and I was ready to get back out on the mound."

He said he made an important adjustment.

"Just try to get lower strikes instead of trying to hit a corner," Nola said. "So I feel like that's where I got myself in trouble."


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