Opposite dugout: Pirates riding rollercoaster season to top of NL Central

Opposite dugout: Pirates riding rollercoaster season to top of NL Central
Manager: Clint Hurdle (8th season) Record: 17-11 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: LF Corey Dickerson (.316 with 30 hits, 15 RBIs); CF Starling Marte (.288 with 3 HR, 8 SB); 1B Josh Bell (.241 with 26 hits, 16 RBIs); RHP Jameson Taillon (2-2, 4.91 ERA); RHP Ivan Nova (2-1, 3.32 ERA) Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (4-3 in 2017) Pitching probables: April 30: RHP Chad Kuhl (2-2) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (1-2), 7:05 p.m., MASNMay 1: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-2)vs. RHP Max Scherzer (5-1), 7:05...
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Brewers look to compete with Cubs in NL Central and return to postseason

Brewers look to compete with Cubs in NL Central and return to postseason
The Cubs have a revamped rotation to go with a lineup that features Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, two hitters that are potential National League MVP candidates. Their biggest competition in the NL Central could be the Brewers, who had 86 victories last season and have a legitimate shot to make the postseason for the first time since 2011. But the Cardinals, who had 100, 86 and 83 wins in each of the last three seasons, are trying to avoid being left out of the postseason for the third...
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Gonzalez under the weather, but says no excuse in 11-8 loss

Gonzalez under the weather, but says no excuse in 11-8 loss
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez got off to a rough start that set the tone for 11-8 Nationals loss to the Pirates that ended the regular season. Gonzalez allowed five runs on three hits with two walks and a hit by pitch in a forgettable first inning. "Before this start I felt great," Gonzalez said. "This was awesome. I felt like I actually did something. Then today's game, I did nothing. Took a couple steps back." Baker said one reason Gonzalez struggled might have been that he was sick before...
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Gonzalez struggling with command early (Pirates win 11-8)

Gonzalez struggling with command early (Pirates win 11-8)
The Pirates got to Gio Gonzalez with a big first inning, scoring five runs on three hits. Gonzalez walked two batters and hit another with a pitch. Max Moroff's three-run double was the highlight. The Nationals came back quickly in the bottom of the first. Trea Turner doubled and Bryce Harper walked. They pulled off another double steal, Turner to third and Harper to second. It is the second time the Nats have used that ploy. If manager Dusty Baker uses this strategy in the post season -...
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De Aza walk-off single in bottom of ninth (Nats win 5-4)

De Aza walk-off single in bottom of ninth (Nats win 5-4)
The Nationals jumped out in the first thanks to a leadoff double by Wilmer Difo. Victor Robles sacrificed to the pitcher to get Difo to third. After Anthony Rendon walked, Daniel Murphy's single scored Difo. After two innings, the Nats led 1-0. But the Pirates rallied in the third against Nats starter Edwin Jackson. With one out, Max Moroff walked. Moroff reached second after a groundout to first by pinch-hitter Steven Brault. Brault had arrived because starting pitcher Ivan Nova got hit by a...
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Opposite dugout: September slide cements losing season for Pirates

Opposite dugout: September slide cements losing season for Pirates
Manager: Clint Hurdle (7th season) Record: 73-85 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: CF Andrew McCutchen (87 RBIs, 28 HR), LF Starling Marte (20 steals), 1B Josh Bell (87 RBIs, 25 HR), RHP Gerrit Cole (1.239 WHIP), LHP Felipe Rivero (20 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 2-1 Pitching probables: Sept. 28: RHP Ivan Nova vs. RHP Edwin Jackson, 7:05 p.m., MASN Sept. 29: RHP Gerrit Cole vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg, 7:05 p.m., MASN Sept. 30: RHP Jameson Taillon vs. RHP Max Scherzer, 7:05 p.m., MASN Oct....
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Opposite dugout: Disappointing season nearing an end for Pirates

Opposite dugout: Disappointing season nearing an end for Pirates
Manager: Clint Hurdle (7th season) Record: 71-85 Last 10 games: 3-7 Who to watch: CF Andrew McCutchen (.273/.358/.470 with 26 HR, 79 RBIs), 1B Josh Bell (24 HR, 83 RBIs), RHP Chad Kuhl (7-11, 4.31 ERA), LHP Felipe Rivero (1.72 ERA, 19 saves) Season series vs. Orioles: 0-2 Pitching probables: Sept. 26: RHP Kevin Gausman vs. RHP Trevor Williams, 7:05 p.m., MASN2 Sept. 27: RHP Gabriel Ynoa vs. RHP Chad Kuhl, 7:05 p.m., MASN2 Inside the Pirates: Like the Orioles, the Pirates are nearing the end of...
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Opposite dugout: Pirates have punch and are viable in an NL Central still up for grabs

Opposite dugout: Pirates have punch and are viable in an NL Central still up for grabs
Manager: Clint Hurdle (7th year) Record: 26-31 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: 2B Josh Harrison (.308/.371/.466), CF Andrew McCutchen (.232/.313/.419, 28 RBIs) RF Gregory Polanco (.264/.338/.403, 7 steals), 1B Josh Bell (.221/.300/.447, 11 HR), LHP Tony Watson (4-1, 10 saves) Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (1-3 in 2014) Pitching probables: June 6: RHP Ivan Nova vs. RHP Kevin Gausman, 7:05 p.m., MASN June 7: RHP Chad Kuhl vs. LHP Wade Miley, 7:05 p.m., MASN2 Just four games separate...
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Game 38 lineups: Nats at Pirates

Game 38 lineups: Nats at Pirates
PITTSBURGH - Hello from beautiful PNC Park, where the sun is shining and it's going to be very toasty the next three days as the Nationals and Pirates square off. The stakes aren't quite as high for this series as that other series between teams from Washington and Pittsburgh the last couple weeks, but these are important games for the Nats, who are hoping to avoid the kind of late-inning fiascos that were an issue pretty much every single night last week. Stephen Strasburg is on the mound...
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Opposite dugout: Pirates have gone from contender to sinking ship

Opposite dugout: Pirates have gone from contender to sinking ship
Manager: Clint Hurdle (7th season) Record: 16-22 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: 3B Josh Harrison (.288/.354/.455 with 5 HR, 12 RBIs), 1B Josh Bell (7 HR, 13 RBIs), CF Andrew McCutchen (6 HR, 17 RBIs), RHP Gerrit Cole (1-4, 3.06 ERA, 47 Ks), LHP Felipe Rivero (0.87 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 9 holds, 22 Ks), LHP Tony Watson (1.62 ERA, 8 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (2-4 in 2016) Pitching probables: May 16: RHP Stephen Strasburg vs. RHP Chad Kuhl, 7:05 p.m., MASN May 17: RHP Jacob...
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Examining the NL Central as the Cubs look to repeat as world champions

Examining the NL Central as the Cubs look to repeat as world champions
The Chicago Cubs are defending a World Series title for the first time since 1909, and this year, they are one of the best teams in the National League. The favorite to win the NL Central? Without a doubt, it is the Cubs. The Cardinals have the best chance to challenge, but their rotation has questions. The Pirates could surprise, but their pitching is young. And the Reds and Brewers are rebuilding with little chance of a .500 record. For the record, the Cubs won 104 games in 1909 and lost the...
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Can the Cubs rotation help them start a dynasty?

Can the Cubs rotation help them start a dynasty?
The Chicago Cubs, World Series champions for the first time since 1908, are the favorites to win the National League Central. The question is: Could the Cubs - and their youthful position-player roster - be baseball's answer to the NFL's New England Patriots, who won their fifth Super Bowl? The Reds and Brewers are rebuilding. The Pirates have taken a step back. The Cardinals are the only team with a chance to challenge the Cubs. Here's a look at the NL Central: Chicago: The Cubs, defending...
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Opposite dugout: Pirates need series vs. Nats to keep wild card hopes alive

Opposite dugout: Pirates need series vs. Nats to keep wild card hopes alive
Manager: Clint Hurdle (6th season) Record: 76-76 Last 10 games: 7-3 Who to watch: CF Andrew McCutchen (24 HR, 75 RBIs), RF Gregory Polanco (22 HR, 85 RBIs), LF Starling Marte (.311/.362/.457), RHP Ivan Nova (5-1, 2.93 ERA), LHP Tony Watson (3.15 ERA with 15 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 1-2 Pitching probables: Sept. 23: LHP Gio Gonzalez vs. RHP Jameson Taillon, 7:05 p.m., MASN Sept. 24: RHP Joe Ross vs. RHP Ivan Nova, 7:05 p.m., MASN Sept. 25: RHP A.J. Cole vs. LHP Steven Brault, 1:35...
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Talks heating up to acquire Melancon from Pirates

Talks heating up to acquire Melancon from Pirates
The Nationals continue to pursue bullpen help as the Aug. 1 trade deadline looms. The Pirates and Nationals' talks regarding right-hander Mark Melancon are heating up, a league source confirmed. The Pirates are interested in a top starting pitching prospect in return, or maybe two. Pittsburgh inquired about No. 1 pitching prospect Lucas Giolito, but he is unavailable. The talks center around a package that would contain right-hander Erick Fedde or right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, or both,...
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Roark delivers eight strong innings, Nats drop Pirates 6-0

Roark delivers eight strong innings, Nats drop Pirates 6-0
The same script repeated itself in the first two games of the series between the Nationals and Pirates at Nationals Park. A Nats starter went at least eight innings. The Nats scored at least five runs, including a homer. The Pirates committed defensive mistakes. The Nats won the series Saturday night in a rain-delayed 6-0 defeat of Pittsburgh. Tanner Roark (9-5) went eight innings plus two batters, allowing five hits. Blake Treinen notched three outs in the ninth. The Nats have won five in a...
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Strasburg goes to 13-0 with eight strong in win over Pirates

Strasburg goes to 13-0 with eight strong in win over Pirates
It turns out the rest might have worked out perfectly for Stephen Strasburg. Or maybe he didn't really need it at all. Strasburg twirled eight innings and allowed only one run, becoming the first National League starting pitcher since 1912 to start a season 13-0. The Nationals dropped the Pirates 5-1. Selected to the All-Star Game in his hometown of San Diego, Strasburg sat out of the game to rest and get ready for the second half. Earlier this season, he had been on the disabled list for 17...
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Opposite dugout: Recent surge has stoked Pirates' postseason chances

Opposite dugout: Recent surge has stoked Pirates' postseason chances
Manager: Clint Hurdle (6th season) Record: 46-43 Last 10 games: 8-2 Who to watch: LF Starling Marte (.316/.363/.460 with 30 SB), RF Gregory Polanco (.287 with 12 HR, 50 RBIs), CF Andrew McCutchen (14 HR, 38 RBIs), RHP Gerrit Cole (5-4, 2.77 ERA), RHP Mark Melancon (1.23 ERA, 27 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 1st meeting (3-4 in 2015) Pitching probables: July 15: LHP Francisco Liriano vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg, 7:05 p.m., MASN July 16: RHP Gerrit Cole vs. RHP Tanner Roark, 7:05 p.m., MASN...
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Opposite dugout: Pitching highlights series again as Pirates look to get back at Nationals

Opposite dugout: Pitching highlights series again as Pirates look to get back at Nationals
Manager: Clint Hurdle (5th season) Record: 54-40 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: CF Andrew McCutchen (.290/.388/.486 with 12 HR, 57 RBIs), LF Starling Marte (.289/.336/.458 with 13 HR, 50 RBIs), 1B Pedro Alvarez (12 HR and 43 RBIs), RHP Gerrit Cole (13-4, 2.31 ERA), RHP A.J. Burnett (8-3, 2.44 ERA), RHP Mark Melancon (1.43 ERA, 30 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: 0-3 Pitching probables: July 23: RHP Doug Fister vs. LHP Francisco Liriano, 7:05 p.m., MASN July 24: RHP Max Scherzer vs. LHP...
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Harper and Werth updates following 4-1 win over Pirates

Harper and Werth updates following 4-1 win over Pirates
Following Friday's 4-1 win over the Pirates, Nationals manager Matt Williams had an update on right fielder Bryce Harper. Harper did not play in the game as he nursed a sore left hamstring strain. Williams said Harper worked in the weight room and got treatment throughout the day after slipping on the wet field Thursday night against Tampa Bay when making a throw from the outfield to the plate. "He did OK," Williams reported. "He did some leg work today, didn't hit, but did some leg work...
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Opposite dugout: Surging Pirates getting strong offense, stronger pitching

Opposite dugout: Surging Pirates getting strong offense, stronger pitching
Manager: Clint Hurdle (5th season) Record: 39-27 Last 10 games: 8-2 Who to watch: CF Andrew McCutchen (.294/.375/.479 with 8 HR, 42 RBIs), C Francisco Cervelli (.316 with 19 RBIs), LF Starling Marte (.285 with 12 HR, 45 RBIs. 13 SB), 3B Josh Harrison (.284 with 22 RBIs), RHP Charlie Morton (5-0, 1.62 ERA), RHP A.J. Burnett (6-2, 1.89 ERA), RHP Mark Melancon (1.87 ERA, 23 saves) Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (3-4 in 2014) Pitching probables: June 19: RHP A.J. Burnett vs. RHP Joe...
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