Pirates look to alter fortunes in series opener vs. Tigers

MLB

Chicago might be some people’s kind of town, but the Pittsburgh Pirates likely have a different opinion after losing all six games to the White Sox and Cubs.

The Pirates (48-89) will look to get back on their feet Monday when they host the Detroit Tigers (65-73) in the opener of a three-game series. The contest begins a nine-game, 11-day homestand for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates have dropped eight of their past nine games following an 11-8 defeat Sunday at the unfriendly confines of Wrigley Field.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said, specifically about four straight losses to the Cubs.

The Tigers, who have won three of their past five, would need to go on quite the roll over the final weeks of the season to reach .500.

“We’ve got to start now,” Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo said. “Even though we’re not in a playoff run, we’re playing (good) baseball like we are, and that’s what keeps us going — keeps the drive going and keeps us going for next year.”

They got a boost over the weekend by taking two of three at Cincinnati, including a 4-1 win on Sunday.

“We won a series against a team that’s fighting for their life (to get) in the playoffs,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said.

In a series at Detroit this season, Pittsburgh won two of three.

In this series opener on Labor Day, Detroit left-hander Tarik Skubal (8-12, 4.26 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Bryse Wilson (2-6, 4.61).

Wilson, who has never faced Detroit, is lined up for his sixth start with Pittsburgh and 20th in the majors.

He was among those who didn’t find Chicago terribly hospitable, giving up four runs on six hits in five-plus innings of a 4-2 loss Tuesday against the White Sox.

But digging deeper, the outing had a huge silver lining for Wilson, or what Shelton called a “very encouraging start for Bryse.”

Wilson, who said he gained “nothing but confidence” that game, gave up a homer to accomplished hitters Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu. He then watched in the sixth as two runners who were his responsibility scored after he left the game.

“It’s tough, because you look at the two homers — very good pitches,” Wilson said. “Changeup down and away, fastball out of the zone away. Those are pitches you’ve just got to tip your cap. Put a good swing on a really good pitch.

“At the end of the day, for me, my stuff was good. … It’s just about making those crucial pitches in those crucial times that can allow me to come out six innings and no runs instead of five innings and four runs.”

In his five starts with the Pirates since being acquired in a trade from Atlanta, Wilson is 0-3 with a 4.32 ERA.

Skubal surrendered six runs on seven hits — including two homers — in five innings in a loss to Oakland on Tuesday.

“I just didn’t feel synced up after the first inning,” the rookie said.

Skubal pitched in relief on April 21 in his lone career appearance versus the Pirates. He gave up three hits in three scoreless innings.

–Field Level Media

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