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New York Yankees vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Series Preview

The Yankees face interleague action this weekend as Gerrit Cole returns to Pittsburgh for the first time.

MLB: AUG 04 Brewers at Pirates Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Yankees’ trip up to Boston to play the Red Sox earlier this week ended up being a bit of a weird one. Two separate games were rained out, leading to the four-game set being played in doubleheaders on Tuesday and Thursday. After sweeping the first of those twin bills, the split the second, taking three out of four for the series.

As for this weekend, the road trip is set to continue as they’re headed to Pittsburgh for some interleague action against the Pirates. After a solid and fun April, the Pirates have struggled and have ended up as the sub-.500 team that they were expected to be going into the season. They got a fun bounce-back season out of returning hero Andrew McCutchen, but he’s set to miss the rest of this season due to an Achilles injury.

Before things get going this weekend, here’s a look at the expected pitching matchups for this weekend.

Friday: Gerrit Cole vs. Johan Oviedo (6:35 pm ET)

The series opener will mark a homecoming of sorts for Cole, as he’ll make his first ever start as a visiting player at PNC Field, taking on a Pirates team that admittedly is quite different from the one he was drafted by in 2011 and spent time with from 2013-17. It’ll also be another chance to put in a good outing as part of his promising case for the Cy Young Award. Cole is coming off a seven-inning scoreless outing against the Brewers, where he was dinged with a no-decision because of the Yankees’ offense getting no-hit. Ever since that bad August 19th outing against the Red Sox, Cole has a sub-2.00 ERA in 26.2 innings.

The Pirates got Oviedo in a 2022 deadline deal with the Cardinals and he’s been fairly solid since making the move over. He was very good in a small sample size after the trade last year, and has been a bit above average this year with a 104 ERA+. He’s been up and down and his last couple starts have been a bit down. He hasn’t made it past the fourth inning of either, allowing three earned runs in each.

Saturday: TBD vs. TBD (6:35 pm ET)
Update: It will be Luke Weaver vs. Luis L. Ortiz

The two doubleheaders the Yankees had to play this week against the Red Sox have thrown a bit of a hiccup in the pitching plans, and as a result, they haven’t announced anything for Saturday. Jhony Brito only threw 38 pitches in his relief appearance in one of the Tuesday games, so it’s possible they bring him back. Or, it’s possible we get a bullpen game and/or a callup from the Scranton Shuttle for a spot start. Aaron Boone did float the recently-claimed and recalled Luke Weaver as a possible option, though with a 6.77 ERA and 5.75 FIP in 26 games (22 starts), that makes for an uninteresting choice.

The Pirates also haven’t announced the pitching for either of Saturday and Sunday’s games. If they followed their rotation for the last time through, right-handed pitcher Luis L. Ortiz would line up for this game, but we shall see.

Sunday: Carlos Rodón vs. TBD (1:35 pm ET)

In his last start, Rodón had a strange outing. He allowed a home run to the fist batter he faced, and then immediately put another couple on. However, that ended up being the only run he gave up on the day. Rodón only ended up last five innings and had to work out of trouble a couple times, but he also struck out nine batters and showed some swing and miss stuff. The interesting thing in this one will be seeing if he can keep that going or if he’ll regress again.

As mentioned, the Pirates haven’t confirmed anything for the series finale. In this case, if they follow their previous order, another righty in Andre Jackson would be up and on normal rest for this game. However again, we shall see what happens.