PITTSBURGH (CBSMiami) – Edinson Volquez tossed an emotional no-hitter in his last outing and will try to become the second pitcher in history to throw two in a row when he takes the mound for the Miami Marlins in the opener of a four-game series at the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Volquez is bidding to join Johnny Vander Meer in that exclusive consecutive no-hit club.
Volquez injured his ankle colliding with the leadoff hitter in the first inning on Saturday but pitched through the pain in that contest and will give it a go again at less than 100 percent when he opposes Pirates ace Gerrit Cole on Thursday. If Volquez can keep it close, then the Marlins will have a great shot at winning for the fifth time in seven games.
Close games are becoming a bit of a struggle for Pittsburgh due to the recent ineffectiveness of closer Tony Watson, who blew the save in the last two games as the Pirates posted back-to-back walk-off losses in Baltimore. Watson, who got a vote of confidence from manager Clint Hurdle before blowing Wednesday’s save, allowed multiple earned runs in five of his last 10 appearances to balloon his ERA from 1.62 to 4.44.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Edinson Volquez (2-7, 3.79 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Gerrit Cole (3-5, 4.27)
Volquez dedicated his no-hitter on Saturday to deceased fellow pitchers Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura after he faced the minimum against Arizona while striking out 10, walking two and inducing a pair of double plays in the 98-pitch gem. The Dominican Republic native did not earn his first win on the season until his previous start, when he limited Philadelphia to one run and three hits in six frames. Volquez, who spent the 2014 campaign in Pittsburgh, is 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA in 10 career starts against the Pirates.
Cole has not been at his best of late and earned a win at the New York Mets on Friday despite allowing seven runs and eight hits in five innings. The former No. 1 overall pick coughed up 16 runs and 28 hits in 14 2/3 innings over his last two outings following a string of eight straight quality starts. Cole is 2-2 with a 3.66 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins.
1. Pirates C Francisco Cervelli was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Wednesday.
2. Miami CF Christian Yelich went hitless in the just-completed three-game series at Chicago to drop his batting average to .259.
3. Pittsburgh 3B David Freese is 7-for-14 with four RBIs in his last three games.
PREDICTION: Marlins 7, Pirates 5