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Pirates Preview: Premier Pitching Kicks Off Two Games in Motown



Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jared Jones warms up in the dugout during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Pittsburgh Pirates (25-29) are in Motown for a two game slate against the Tigers (26-27), and they’ll get things started at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday with a showdown between two of the best pitchers in the league this season.

Detroit ace Tarik Skubal is the frontrunner for the American League Cy Young award, pitching to a 2.32 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. He’ll take the bump against Pittsburgh tonight, while the Pirates will counter with rookie phenom Jared Jones, who’s riding a four-game quality start streak on the way to a 3.05 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 59 innings this season.

Skubal endured his worst start of the season in his last appearance, allowing four runs over five innings against the Kansas City Royals. Whether that constitutes a bump in the road or his hot start beginning to tail off remains to be seen.

The Pirates, meanwhile, are coming off a series win against the Atlanta Braves, one of the best clubs in baseball over the past half decade.

Here’s everything you need to know for tonight’s matchup, set to air on Sportsnet Pittsburgh.


There’s a threat of rain throughout the evening, with a 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms around 5 p.m. tailing off into a light rain and showers for much of the rest of the night. Wind will sit around 5 miles per hour, a cross breeze blowing southeast and south-southwest.

Batting Matchups

The Tigers haven’t ever faced the rookie Jones, while Pittsburgh’s batters have had a limited view of Skubal over the years. Outfielder Edward Olivares looks like a great bet to get playing time—as he has been since the Pirates sent Jack Suwinski down to Triple-A—as he has five hits in 14 at-bats against Skubal, including two doubles and a homer, dating back to the time he spent with the Kansas City Royals. Other than that, it’s been slim pickings against Skubal, with the best OPS among the other four batters who have faced him sitting at a pithy .667.


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