MLB Arizona Diamondbacks

Pirates at Detroit Tigers Series Preview: Interleague Play Begins

Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers - The Pittsburgh Pirates (18-20) visit Detroit to take on the Tigers (18-20) for the finale of a road trip and the opener of interleague play.

The Bucs are coming off a 5-3 victory against the Washington Nationals and back-to-back split two-game series against the Nats and the Miami Marlins.

Andrew McCutchen led the way with a two home run night, while James McDonald struck out 11 batters in 5.2 innings. J-Mac had a no-hitter going through five innings, but was lit up for four hits and three runs in the sixth.

Tonight, the Pirates will send righty Charlie Morton (2-3, 4.05) out to face 2011 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander (4-1, 2.47). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.

This series won’t be a walk in the park. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Pirates lost all three games this weekend despite the teams’ identical records.

The Bucs will need to inject some magic into their anemic bats to put anything on the board tonight against Verlander, and a lineup featuring Miguel Cabrera and our old friend Prince Fielder will put runs on the board.

Overall, Detroit is fifth in the AL in hitting and eighth in both runs scored and home runs, while the Pirates rank last in the majors in runs and hits and 23rd in home runs.

The Tigers are struggling a bit right now, though. They just lost their two-game series with the lowly Minnesota Twins and are 4-7 in their last 11 games. Maybe the Pirates can steal a game or two this weekend be a game under .500 when they return home on Monday to face the New York Mets.

Tomorrow at 4:05 PM, A.J. Burnett (1-2, 5.12) gets the rock against Drew Smyly (1-0, 2.31).

Burnett has thrown eight innings and allowed two runs in each of his past two starts, the only ones removing him from that atrocious 12-run 2.2 inning mess in early May.

Sunday, we’ll see Kevin Correia (1-4, 4.5o) battle Detroit’s Max Scherzer (2-3, 6.26).

Or, we may not. Correia has been bad to say the least this season. Brad Lincoln was solid when he started for Erik Bedard on Monday. There has been talk about removing Correia from the rotation and that seems like the best way to go at this point. Hopefully Lincoln will get the start, but for now Correia is the Probable Pitcher.

Follow Troy on Twitter @TroyPfaff for more Pittsburgh Pirates content