PITTSBURGH — The Pirates will look to win their sixth straight game for the first time this season in Sunday’s series finale with the San Francisco Giants.
The Pirates have won five straight games already twice this season. The won five or more consecutive games just once in 2017, when they won six in a row from July 16 – 20.
The current streak has propelled the Pirates into a near-tie for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals.
MATTERS AT HAND
Jameson Taillon is determined to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.
What he hasn’t determined, is exactly how he’s going to get his injured right middle finger into shape in order to do so. Taillon cut his finger during his abbreviated start on Friday night. He believes he did it when his thumbnail impacted his middle finger after throwing a curveball. Taillon showed reporters his hand on Sunday, and it’s still kind of a mess.
He threw some catch on the field for the first time, but did so with the finger covered. In order to make his start, he’s going to have to find a way to throw without his finger covered. Pitchers aren’t allowed to pitch with anything on their hand. So Taillon has been trying everything he can think of to get his finger to heal quickly.
“If anyone has suggestions, send them my way,” he said. “I’ve heard some weird stuff. … I’ve been trying putting my finger in a silver nitrate sleeve to accelerate hardening. So we’re trying everything. You’re not really allowed to have much on it.”
Taillon said that it’s possible that he could make his start without throwing a between-starts bullpen session. In the meantime, he’s going to continue to weed through the sometimes-odd healing suggestions he’s gotten.
“The most common one I’ve gotten is to pee on your hands,” Taillon said. “I said, ‘If it helps, I’ll put a sign-up sheet up.’ I just want this thing to go away.”
I wrote earlier this week about the Pirates’ inefficient lineups, particularly with regards to the leadoff spot. Maybe someone was reading. Francisco Cervelli will hit leadoff for the first time this season.
I suggested Starling Marte for that spot because of his speed and experience, but Cervelli has been hitting even better thus far this season. His 168 wRC+ is the team’s best and ninth in the majors. His .415 on-base percentage is also the best on the team, and while not the same kind of base-stealing threat as Marte, Cervelli has usable speed. It’s a pretty much perfect fit, and the only reason I didn’t suggest it is that I didn’t think Clint Hurdle would go for trying it. Shows what I know.
First pitch: 10:35 AM PDT ⚾️
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 13, 2018
When I looked at the forecast today, I didn’t think there was any chance we’d get this one in, but it hasn’t rained a drop since I arrived at the ballpark. Weather.com now forecasts less than a 30 percent chance of rain during the game, with a first-pitch temperature around 70 degrees. The wind is almost completely still.