With the new interleague scheduling this year, there are some quirky matchups scheduled all throughout the MLB season. This upcoming two-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners is one of the strangest.
Two pretty equal lineups and pitching matchups should make this two game set an exciting proposition — especially for Pirate fans who may never see the team host the Mariners again during Felix Hernandez‘s tenure.
Game 1: The projected starters are Aaron Harang (1-3, 8.68 ERA) and James McDonald (2-2, 5.76 ERA). This game will mark Harang’s return to the National League, where he spent every season in his 10-year career except his first and current. While Harang’s ERA is incomprehensible, his xFIP is a more reasonable 4.40.
Victim of a high BABIP and HR rate, Harang’s ERA should settle in at a more tolerable clip, likely starting against the Pirates. He’ll face the enigmatic McDonald, who has actually gotten lucky by the advanced metrics, and is still boasting a brutal ERA. This will be a battle to see if either team can get a quality start from their starter, but thankfully they may not need their bullpens much in the second game.
Game 2: The projected starters are Felix Hernandez (4-2, 1.60 ERA) and A.J. Burnett (3-2, 2.57 ERA). This game could boast the lowest over/under in the history of PNC Park. While neither team hits particularly well, Burnett and Hernandez should have their way with strikeout figures and much success in this one.
This should be a treat for Pirate fans, as this could be the only time King Felix ever pitches in PNC Park. Though the constant interleague scheduling leads to difficulty with rainouts and travel, seeing King Felix pitch in Pittsburgh is the type of interest-drawing matchup that MLB was looking to generate.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.