Yankees vs. Pirates Series Preview: A thrilling clash with future victories at stake

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The New York Yankees are heading to PNC Park in Pittsburgh for a three-game series against the Pirates, marking their first encounter since July of 2022. With just two weeks left in the regular season, both teams find themselves in precarious positions regarding playoff contention. Each game in this series carries significant weight as neither team can afford to lose another series if they hope to keep their postseason dreams alive.

As the series kicks off, the Yankees are tied for fourth place in the competitive AL East, along with the Boston Red Sox, but they trail by 7.5 games in the wild card race. On the other side, the Pirates are sitting in fourth place in the NL Central, with a 6.5-game deficit in the wild-card standings. This series is make-or-break for both teams, and a losing streak at this crucial juncture could effectively end their playoff aspirations.

Aaron Judge during the game between Yankees against Red Sox, on august 14th.
New York Yankees

Historically, the Yankees have had the upper hand against the Pirates, boasting a 13-6 all-time record in their matchups. Last season, these two teams faced off four times, with the Yankees dominating, winning three of those games with an impressive offensive display. They outscored the Pirates 41-15, showcasing their superiority in terms of batting.

A mixed record at PNC Park

When playing at PNC Park, the Yankees have had a mixed record against NL teams since 2008, with a 3-5 record. However, they have posted strong offensive statistics at this venue, boasting a .305 batting average, .376 on-base percentage, .497 slugging percentage, and an .872 OPS. Their pitching has been relatively solid with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.

Looking at the Yankees’ overall performance this season, their pitching staff has been a standout, ranking third in the league with a .234 batting average against and ninth in ERA with a 3.97. However, their offense has struggled, ranking 29th in batting average (.226) and 26th in on-base percentage (.303). Despite these offensive struggles, they have managed to hit the seventh-most home runs in MLB with 205.

On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Pirates have faced their own challenges offensively, ranking 27th in batting average (.237) and 22nd in on-base percentage (.313). Their slugging percentage (.390) and OPS (.703) also fall below the league average. However, their pitching staff has performed relatively better with a 4.48 ERA, which ranks 20th in the league, and a .251 opposing batting average, also ranked 20th.

Recent performance shows that the Pirates have been slightly better, going 6-4 in their last ten games compared to the Yankees’ 5-5 record. In terms of home performance, the Pirates have maintained a slightly better record with a 37-38 mark, but their pitching has been less impressive, sporting a 4.67 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP at PNC Park this season.

Pitching standouts

As we dive into the individual matchups for this series, the first game on September 15th will feature Gerrit Cole, who is leading the Cy Young Award race, taking the mound for the Yankees. Cole, who previously played for the Pirates with the Houston Astros, has been in stellar form recently with a 2-0 record and a 1.42 ERA in his last three starts. He has a strong away record this season, with a 5-2 record and a 2.51 ERA in 13 games on the road.

Facing Cole, the Pirates will send Johan Oviedo to the mound. Oviedo has a 1-1 record with a 3.31 ERA in his last three appearances. His home record at PNC Park stands at 4-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 13 games.

Moving to the second game on September 16th, the starting pitchers for both teams have not been announced yet, adding an element of unpredictability to this matchup.

Finally, in the third game on September 17th, the Yankees will send Carlos Rodón to the mound. Rodón has a 2-1 record with a 6.59 ERA in his last three starts. He has a positive track record against the Pirates, with a 3-1 record and an ERA of 3.97 in four career appearances against them.

The Pirates’ starting pitcher for this game remains unknown at this time.

In conclusion, this three-game series between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates carries immense significance for both teams as they strive to stay in the playoff race. The Yankees hold the historical advantage, but the Pirates have shown signs of improvement. With top-tier pitching and the unpredictability of baseball, anything can happen, making this series a must-watch for baseball fans.

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