Mariners-Pirates Preview
James McDonald
James McDonald

Posted May 7, 2013


The Pirates open a brief two-game series with Seattle on Tuesday night at PNC Park. Right-hander James McDonald will be on the hill for the Bucs. The Mariners will toss righty Aaron Harang.

After getting hit hard in his first three starts, Aaron Harang earned the win with an impressive showing his last time out.

He's piled up his fair share of victories against the Pittsburgh Pirates over the course of his career.

Looking to win a sixth consecutive start at PNC Park, Harang faces a familiar foe Tuesday night as the Seattle Mariners open a two-game set against the Pirates.

Acquired from Colorado on April 11, Harang (1-3, 8.68 ERA) compiled an 11.37 ERA in losing his first three outings. The right-hander, though, showed signs of coming around Wednesday versus Baltimore, scattering four hits over six innings of two-run ball in an 8-3 win.

"He's got too good a track record not to be better than his numbers so far," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He will pitch well."

Now in his 12th season in the majors, Harang credits his first quality start to a change in his mechanics.

"We did some towel drill work," he told MLB's official website. "Sometimes, it all goes back to stuff we were taught when we were seven, eight years old. People think (mechanical changes) are something huge, a big deal. It's something usually so minor and basic that no one looks at it. Sometimes you go right back to the basics of throwing."

Harang surely is feeling good about his chances of building on his latest outing against the Pirates (17-14). Having spent the majority of his career in the NL, Harang is 15-6 lifetime versus Pittsburgh - his most wins against opponent. He's posted a 3.16 ERA during his five-start winning streak at PNC Park.

The Mariners (15-18) had won three straight and six of seven before falling 10-2 at Toronto on Sunday. Michael Morse, Jason Bay, Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley, the team's Nos. 4-7 hitters, went a combined 0 for 13 as Seattle was limited to a season-low three hits.

"We struggled a little bit, but we have to separate from it," manager Eric Wedge said. "We are in the business of trying to win series. We won our series here and now we have to be ready to go to work in Pittsburgh on Tuesday."

The Mariners are 5-1 against the Pirates and 3-0 in Pittsburgh. The two clubs haven't met since 2007, though.

The Pirates are coming off their first back-to-back home losses, falling 6-2 in Sunday's series finale versus Washington. Starling Marte led off the bottom of the first with his fourth homer in five games but Pittsburgh went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

After Marte went deep, the Pirates loaded the bases with no outs but couldn't come through.

"Bunch of guys on real fast ... we've got to take advantage of that," catcher Michael McKenry said.

Pittsburgh will try to bounce back behind James McDonald (2-2, 5.76), who allowed seven runs, eight hits and five walks over five innings in Tuesday's 12-8 loss at Milwaukee.

McDonald is 1-2 despite a 3.07 ERA at home. He's limited opponents to a .214 average and received just four runs of support in those three outings.

Bay, the face of Pirates' franchise from 2004-08, is 2 for 6 against McDonald. While Bay's seven-game hitting streak was snapped Sunday, he's batting .370 with two homers and seven RBIs over his last eight contests.

Bay is hitting .143 in six matchups against his former club.


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