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Pirates Preview: Bucs Face Star Rookie Shota Imanaga for First Time



Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates, Paul Skenes

Backed by six no-hit innings from rookie Paul Skenes, the Pittsburgh Pirates cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon.

Skenes allowed only one batter to reach on a one-out walk in the fifth inning and struck out 11 in a dominating effort for his first major-league win.

The Pirates’ offense collected 15 hits which included home runs from Jared Triolo and Andrew McCutchen. Pittsburgh has hit at least one home run in seven-straight games.

The Pirates (21-25) have a chance to clinch a series win against the Cubs (25-21) on Saturday afternoon, the third of four games at Wrigley Field.

The game will begin at 2:20 ET and will be broadcast on SportsNet Pittsburgh.


It looks like another beautiful day for baseball with temperatures in the upper-70s and sunny skies. Winds SSE at 7-8 mph.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Send Out LHP Bailey Falter (2-2, 4.15 ERA)

Falter was solid for the Pirates against the Cubs in his last start on Sunday.

The left-hander held Chicago to two runs on five hits in six innings pitched while walking a pair and striking out one.

It was a nice bounce-back outing for Falter, who had been charged with eight earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched over his two previous starts.

In seven career appearances against the Cubs, Falter is 0-3 with an 8.41 ERA and has allowed seven runs in 2.1 innings pitched at Wrigley Field.

The Chicago Cubs Will Send Out LHP Shota Imanaga (5-0, 0.96 ERA)

This will be the first time Imanaga, a 30-year-old rookie from Japan, will face the Pirates.

Imanaga has had scoreless starts in two of his last three outings and blanked the Atlanta Braves across five innings with eight strikeouts in his last start.

Imanaga is the league-leader in ERA and is the lone qualified starter to have a sub-1.00 ERA this year. He’s also held opponents to a .206 batting average against.

The Cubs’ staff ace is probably the Rookie of the Year favorite as things stand with two Pirates in Skenes and Jared Jones also in the mix.

Cubs Hitters vs. Falter

  • Ian Happ: 1 for 10, one double, one RBI, one strikeout
  • Patrick Wisdom: 4 for 7, two walks, two strikeouts
  • Nico Hoerner: 3 for 7, one double, two walks
  • Cody Bellinger: 2 for 7, one double, three RBIs, one strikeout
  • Seiya Suzuki: 0 for 7, two walks, one strikeout
  • Christopher Morel: 4 for 6, one double, one home run, three RBIs
  • Yan Gomes: 2 for 5, two home runs, two RBIs, two strikeouts
  • Mike Tauchman: 0 for 5, one strikeout

Pirates Hitters vs. Imanaga

  • N/A


  • Paul Skenes’ 11 strikeouts at Wrigley were the most by a Pirates’ pitcher ever — a total of 1,017 matchups.
  • Skenes struck out the first seven batters he faced on Friday, becoming the first Pirate since at least 1974 to do so. He came two shy of tying the MLB record to start a game.
  • The right-hander also became the fourth rookie in league history with an outing of six-plus innings, no hits and 10 strikeouts.


Pirates Prospect Watch: Bubba Chandler Pulled After Two Outs

Paul Skenes No-Hits Cubs Through 6 Innings, Strikes Out 11 in Pirates’ 9-3 Win

Pirates Make Pair of Minor League Transactions

Perrotto: Why Pirates Feel Paul Skenes Can Handle Great Expectations

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