Pittsburgh Pirates vs Washington Nationals Preview and Free Pick

Pittsburgh (46-44) at Washington (55-36)
When: Saturday, July 16th 2016
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: ROOT Pittsburgh, MASN

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The Washington Nationals look to make it two in a row over the Pittsburgh Pirates when the two clubs battle in the middle game of a weekend series in the Nation’s Capital. The Nationals took the opener 5-1 behind ace Stephen Strasburg, who improved to 13-0 last night with eight solid innings. The Nats got to Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano in the 7th with a four-run inning to break a 1-1 tie. The youngsters did the damage for Washington with Michael Taylor hitting a two-run homerun and first baseman Clint Robinson contributing two hits. Washington’s 3-4-5 hitters (Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Anthony Rendon) went a combined 0-for-9 and left six men on base. Pirates 2B Josh Harrison is struggling at the plate and is 0-for-12 in his last five games. Nationals All-Star 2B Daniel Murphy sat out on Friday with leg soreness and is day-to-day.

Pitchers: Pirates – Gerrit Cole (5-4, 2.77 ERA) | Nationals – Tanner Roark (8-5, 3.01)

Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the first time since June 10th when he went on the disabled list with a strained right biceps. The former number one pick did not allow more than three earned runs in any of his final seven major league appearances before hitting the DL and has surrendered just three home runs in 68.1 total innings. Cole is seeing Washington for the first time in 2016 and held the Nationals to one run over 7.2 innings in his lone start against them last season.

Tanner Roark has gone at least seven innings in each of his last four starts and got a little extra work in before the All-Star break by tossing 2.1 hitless innings of relief against the New York Mets on Sunday. Roark has only allowed seven home runs in 116.2 innings this season. Roark has yet to face the Pirates this season and is 1-0 with a 4.66 ERA in three career games – one start – against them.

I think Cole picks up where he left off before he got hurt. The Pirates offense will get going tonight after being shut down by Strasburg last night. We look to make in five winners in a row with our Daily MLB Picks.

Pick: Pirates +107

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