|11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, June 27, 2019
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas Attendance: 38,943
Reeling Astros hope to win rubber game with Pirates
In the aftermath of getting shelled for a second consecutive start, Astros left-hander Framber Valdez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, putting an already taxed Houston staff on alert.
The Astros turned to a pair of position players -- first baseman Tyler White and catcher Max Stassi -- to mop up their 14-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, not only setting up a rubber match of this three-game interleague series Thursday but readying for a difficult stretch with either a shortened bullpen or the addition of another minor leaguer to the staff.
"I pitched two position players, so that tells you where our bullpen is and where this game was," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We will have to take a look at all our options and see how we navigate. We got four more games in a row, the two games at Coors Field (July 2-3) that are looming, which are always difficult. We will look at our options and see what's best to get us through these games."
Right-hander Brad Peacock (6-5, 3.62 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros on Thursday. Peacock suffered his second consecutive loss on June 21 against the New York Yankees, allowing two runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts over six innings in a 4-1 defeat. The outing marked his second double-digit strikeout performance this season.
Peacock has faced the Pirates only once in relief during his career.
Former Astros right-hander Joe Musgrove (5-7, 4.57) will start the series finale for the Pirates. It will mark the first career appearance for Musgrove against the Astros, who moved him to Pittsburgh on Jan. 13, 2018 as part of the trade that netted right-hander Gerrit Cole.
Musgrove is 5-3 with a 4.37 ERA over 13 career interleague appearances (nine starts) and 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in such starts this season. Musgrove will make his first appearance at Minute Maid Park since winning Game 5 of the 2017 World Series in relief.
He went 11-12 with a 4.52 ERA over 49 appearances (25 starts) with the Astros, who acquired Musgrove from Toronto on July 20, 2012.
In left fielder Corey Dickerson, the Pirates have a veteran capable of providing both production and experience. Dickerson is one of a small handful of thirtysomethings on the Pirates' 25-man roster and, after earning a Gold Glove in his first season in Pittsburgh in 2018, Dickerson missed 58 games this season with a right posterior shoulder strain.
While helping the Pirates even the series with the Astros on Wednesday, Dickerson provided a picture of what they lacked as he sat.
Dickerson finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs, three runs and three doubles. Pittsburgh is laboring to stay in the postseason hunt, and Dickerson offers some thrust toward that goal.
"We need him; he's a good player," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "And he's a hungry player. And he showed that. He plays hard, he plays with intensity and he likes to play.
"He missed a lot of time and he's trying to find a way to maximize the time he's got in front of him, basically one day at a time. He's a welcome addition to our club. It's good having him in play."
--Field Level Media
Updated June 27, 2019