PITTSBURGH (CBSMiami/AP) – As the Pittsburgh Pirates continue their push to make the postseason, one thing that would make the journey a bit easier would be if Edinson Volquez could regain his pre-All-Star break form.
His next start could get the ball rolling in the right direction.
Pittsburgh goes for a series win Thursday night at home against the Miami Marlins, a club that’s never beaten him.
Volquez (8-7, 3.91 ERA) has struggled in three starts since the break, going 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA and .343 opponent average. He pitched four scoreless innings but gave up four in the fifth Friday in Arizona, ultimately exiting after 5 2-3 before the Pirates rallied for a 9-4 win.
The right-hander had been on quite a roll prior to the break with wins in four straight starts and a 0.90 ERA.
He’s 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins. Casey McGehee is 0 for 8 against Volquez, but Giancarlo Stanton is 4 for 8 with a home run and two doubles while former Pirate Garrett Jones is 3 for 13 with three home runs.
The Pirates (60-53) bounced back from a series-opening loss with Wednesday’s 7-3 victory after a four-run first inning sparked their seventh home win against the Marlins (55-58) in eight tries. Expecting another seven runs might be a stretch given the state of their lineup.
Andrew McCutchen (fractured rib) has missed two games, Neil Walker (back) has been out of the lineup for three of four and Pedro Alvarez was placed on the bereavement list prior to Tuesday’s contest. McCutchen is hoping to avoid a disabled-list stint while Walker is expected back Thursday.
“Every team in our division has lost key members. We’re no different than anybody else,” manager Clint Hurdle told MLB’s official website. “I shared a quote with the team yesterday that Lou Holtz made famous: ‘Don’t tell people your problems. Eighty percent of them don’t care, and the other 20 are happy you have them.'”
Josh Harrison has done a good job of stepping up with a .455 average and 12 extra-base hits during a 10-game hitting streak. After going 3 for 4 Wednesday, he’s 9 for 17 in four games against the Marlins this season.
Miami, which had won five straight on the road, has dropped five of seven since reaching .500 for the first time in more than a month on July 29. Including that win, the Marlins have scored just 23 runs with a .209 average over eight games.
McGehee has been a big part of those troubles as he tries to work his way though a 7-for-54 slump. He entered Wednesday batting under .300 (.298) for the first time since June 7.
Manager Mike Redmond, though, was more concerned with the two big innings his club conceded. Pittsburgh tacked on three in the seventh.
“You look at tonight,” Redmond said. “We gave up seven runs in two big innings. Those are innings we’ve got to limit the damage.”
Brian Flynn now gets what could be a spot start for the Marlins. Flynn (0-0, 6.00) is making his first start of the season in place of the injured Jarred Cosart, who was scratched due to a sore left oblique.
Flynn, whom the Marlins intended to use in a long-relief role, made one relief appearance on June 27 and allowed two runs in three innings of a 9-5 loss to Oakland. The left-hander made four starts a season ago and had similar struggles with an 0-2 record, 8.50 ERA and .370 opponent average.
Cosart, who was acquired last Thursday in a six-player deal with Houston, is expected to be back in the rotation Tuesday.
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