Juan Nicasio (6-5 4.92 ERA) will look to win his seventh game of the year on Sunday afternoon, For Nicasio, it's been an uneven season to say the least, but prior to this week's earlier match up with Atlanta, Nicasio had been money since coming back from Triple-A as he posted a 0.47 ERA in three starts.
Facing a tough Pittsburgh lineup will be a tall task for the big right hander, but if he can locate his mid-90's fastball and throw his slider and changeup when he needs to, he should have success. In his career, Nicasio has started one game against Pittsburgh in which he walked away with a no decision after pitching 6.2 innings of one-run ball.
His counterpart, A.J. Burnett (4-7 2.86) just needs run support. Burnett has enjoyed a revival in Pittsburgh over the last two seasons and he has been nothing short of dominant this year, but his continued lack of run support on the season has hurt his win loss totals. The Pirates are just 8-11 when he starts and average 3.2 runs a game in Burnett's starts good for seventh worst of any starting pitcher in baseball.
Burnett has an outstanding 1.21 WHIP on the season and he has struck out 132 batters in just 119.2 innings of work. Rockies hitters will need to be disciplined while facing Burnett, but one player that could help is Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez will be back in his usual spot in the order on Sunday after sitting out for the previous three games due to a finger injury that will likely bother him the rest of the season.
Winning a series on the road in Pittsburgh would be a nice rebound from a dismal series in Atlanta. Tune in at 11:30 MT to see if the Rockies can throw the Pirates overboard.