Sports Magazine

Game 42: Rockies @ Pirates 05.21.16

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Game Preview:
"Rockies-Pirates Preview
4:05 PM ET
Line: PIT -130
COL: Chatwood (5-3 , 3.20 ERA) PIT: Niese (4-2 , 5.28 ERA)
Pick Center
86 tickets available
12:13 AM ET
Jonathon Niese is still trying to find his footing with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but at the very least he's starting to wiggle his way out of some jams on a consistent basis.
Next up: avoiding those issues in the first place.
Niese will try to keep himself from getting into trouble Saturday at PNC Park as the Pirates look to make it nine straight victories over the Colorado Rockies.
The left-hander had a 5.94 ERA through his first six starts in a Pittsburgh uniform, allowing a .309 batting average. The damage could have been worse if he hadn't limited opponents to a .268 average with runners in scoring position.
He made two quality starts in those six but has done that in each of his last two outings. He allowed the leadoff man to reach in the first four innings Monday against Atlanta but escaped each time, ultimately allowing two runs in his sixth and final inning in an 8-5 win.
Niese credited pitching from the stretch in bullpen sessions for helping limit his last two opponents to 1 of 13 with men on second or third.
"It helps me stay back and stay on line and keep myself under control," Niese told MLB's official website. "Normally when you throw bullpens, you throw the majority of them out of the windup. ... I thought that kind of helped me out today."
The Rockies (20-21) went 3 for 7 with Niese pitching from the stretch April 27 at Coors Field, when he allowed five runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 9-8 win in 12. Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado went deep, two of the 11 long balls he's surrendered to rank among the most homer-happy pitchers in the majors.
Mark Reynolds went 2 for 3 against Niese that day and is 10 for 18 with two homers off him.
Tyler Chatwood (5-3, 3.20) didn't pitch in the Pirates' three-game sweep last month, and the right-hander has been by far the Rockies' best starter. He's pitched at least six scoreless innings in three of his eight outings, and though he wasn't quite that good Sunday against the Mets, he held them to three runs over seven in a 4-3 win.
Like a lot of pitchers, Chatwood has enjoyed his time outside of Denver. He's 4-0 with a 0.33 ERA on the road, which is easily the majors' best away from home.
This will be Chatwood's first look at the Pirates (23-18), and he'll have his work cut out for him if Saturday goes anything like the Rockies' recent experiences with Pittsburgh have. The Pirates outscored Colorado 57-30 in winning the previous seven games in the series, then extended that streak with Friday's 2-1 victory.
Pittsburgh has won five of six.
"It's fun to come to the yard when you're winning," third baseman David Freese said. "I don't know if we're playing our best ball or not, but we're winning ballgames. That's what matters."
Arenado has homered in three straight games against Pittsburgh, going 8 for 13 in that stretch."

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