Yeesh. So much for that winning streak. Evan Meek is pretty freaking bad, no? Honestly though, after seeing that putrid lineup I put the Pirates chances of winning around 10%.
First Pitch: 7:05 PM EST
Where to Watch: Root Sports, MLB.TV, MASN
Jordan Zimmermann, RHP (25)
The Nats pitching has been their strong suit, much like the Pirates. Zimmermann has been a big part of that. I said in an earlier preview I’m not a Ross Detwiler believer, I am a Jordan Zimmermann believer.
It may not be evident by just looking at his ERA, but Zimmermann’s important numbers have improved every year he’s been in the bigs. He has gradually taken steps forward and I think you’re starting to see the results of that.
This is a guy who hasn’t gone less than six innings in a game this season. A guy who has given up just one run in five of his seven starts, and three in the other two. Zimmermann is a very good pitcher that is kind of flying under the radar.
Surprisingly he hasn’t faced the Pirates in his career.
James McDonald, RHP (27)
I’m not surprised at how good James McDonald has been, he has great stuff, and potential. I’m surprised at his being so consistent though. James now has four straight quality starts and has gone 7+ innings in three of his last four. Going deep into games and being so consistent was the key for him. That is what he needed to add to his game and boy has he ever.
In fact I would say that McDonald has been our second best pitcher after A.J. Burnett.
Obviously the case can be made that he has been even better.
I also think that having guys like Burnett on the team helps Jmac. He has had a different presence on the mound this year. I know guys love to decry “veteranosity” but that’s illogical. If you put an expert, someone who has done it before, in close quarters with young guys at ANY job the young guys will learn from them.
McDonald didn’t face the Natinals (did that on purpose) last time out but had a pretty good outing in his one matchup with them last year.
That is his only career start against the Nats, spending his other three appearances in the bullpen. Jmac has one loss in that role so he will be looking for his first career win against the Nationals.