Game 39: Back at it


Story by Rob Biertempfel

Miss me last week? Or perhaps you didn’t notice I was away. Either way, I’m back for the start of this homestand, then I’ll be off to Atlanta. This is a chance for the Pirates to recoup some confidence after a dumpster fire of a road trip out west. They’re 5-1 so far this year against the NL East, having swept the Braves and taken two of three from the Marlins. In 47 career games against the Nationals, Andrew McCutchen is hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI. In 27 games vs. the Nats at PNC Park, he’s hitting .370.

>>> Gregory Polanco, who tweaked his left hamstring over the weekend in Phoenix, is not in the lineup today. UPDATE 4:13 p.m. : Polanco spoke briefly in the clubhouse about a half-hour ago and said he … 1. felt better, 2.  hadn’t yet tested his hammy in the batting cage, 3. did not believe he’s in good enough shape to run at game speed. 

>>> Back in December, it looked for a while like this series would mark Andrew McCutchen’s return to Pittsburgh for the first time with a different team. That trade didn’t pan out — the Nats instead dealt for Adam Eaton, who’s out for the season due to a torn ACL — and McCutchen stayed put. I wonder if, considering the state of both teams at the moment, he doesn’t sometimes wish it had gone through.

>>> The Nats haven’t yet named their starting pitcher for Wednesday.  Jacob Turner was supposed to pitch, but he pitched one inning of relief on Sunday, as Washington’s bullpen continued to struggle. One intriguing possibility: RHP Erick Fredde. The Nats’ top pitching prospect is 2-3 with a 3.16 ERA at Double-A Harrisburg.

>>> Tuesday: Nationals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Nationals (24-13): Trea Turner 6, Jayson Werth 7, Bryce Harper 9, Ryan Zimmerman 3, Anthony Rendon 5, Matt Wieters 2, Michael A Taylor 8, Wilmer Difo 4, RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-1, 3.28)

Pirates (16-22): Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, John Jaso 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Chad Kuhl (1-3, 5.81) 1

>>> Wednesday: Nationals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Nationals: TBA vs. Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (1-4, 3.06)

>>> Thursday: Nationals at Pirates, 12:35 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (3-1, 3.88). Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-3, 7.98)

>>> Friday: Phillies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies: TBA. Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41)

>>> Saturday: Phillies at Pirates, 4:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies TBA. Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.48)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.