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9:35 AM PT10:35 AM MT11:35 AM CT12:35 PM ET12:35 ET16:35 GMT0:35 9:35 AM MST11:35 AM EST12:05 PM VEN20:35 UAE11:35 AM CT, May 8, 2019
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 13,905

Pitching takes spotlight as Pirates host Rangers

According to STATS
According to STATS

Texas Rangers at Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. The Rangers won the last two games of a three-game set against the Blue Jays, scoring 18 runs in those two wins after being shut out, 1-0, in the first game. They are averaging 8.88 runs in their 16 wins this season compared to 2.94 in their 16 losses -- that's the largest difference (5.94) in MLB.
  2. After losing eight consecutive games, Pittsburgh has won four of its last five. The Pirates are averaging 5.0 runs and hitting .263 with runners in scoring position in their last five games after averaging 2.3 runs and hitting .190 with RISP in their previous eight games.
  3. The Pirates are 21-6 in interleague play since last season, best in MLB, and have played five straight interleague games, winning four of them. Texas has a 5.31 ERA in interleague games since last season, third highest in MLB.
  4. Elvis Andrus recorded his 1600th career hit on Sunday, becoming the fourth player in Rangers history with at least 1600 hits. Only Michael Young (2230), Pudge Rodriguez (1747) and Rafael Palmeiro (1692) have more hits in a Rangers uniform.
  5. Josh Bell is on a six-game hitting streak, recording an extra-base hit in five of those games. Since April 21, he is batting .269 with a .692 slugging percentage -- that .423 isolated power (slugging minus average) is the fifth highest in the National League (minimum 50 plate appearances).
  6. Joey Gallo has recorded a true outcome (walk, home run, strikeout) in all but one game this season (his five RBI game on April 21). Of his 126 plate appearances this season, 61.1 percent have ended in a true outcome, highest in MLB among qualifiers.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 5/7/2019 thru 5/8/2019

There could be redemption in the air for both starters Wednesday when the Texas Rangers and host Pittsburgh Pirates finish a two-game series at PNC Park.

Texas right-hander Shelby Miller (1-2, 7.99 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Nick Kingham (1-0, 6.39 ERA).

For Miller, it's another shot at the team that handed him his last loss. Kingham, who has never gone against the Rangers, is getting a shot at starting for the first time since last September.

After a splashy major league debut little more than a year ago -- he got the first 20 batters out April 29, 2018, and finished with seven one-hit innings against St. Louis -- Kingham has divided his time between the rotation and the bullpen.

"For the most part, (starting) is where I'm most comfortable," Kingham, 27, told reporters. He made 15 starts last season and was 5-7 with a 5.32 ERA in those games.

"Starting is a little more mentally relaxing just in the fact that you know 7:05 you're getting the ball and you have to get ready to attack at that point."

This spring, he was beaten out by Jordan Lyles for the Pirates' fifth starter's spot and has pitched out of the bullpen his first eight appearances this year.

He has pitched multiple innings in five of those eight relief appearances, including a season-high 2 1/3 innings against Oakland last Friday. He gave up four runs and five hits in that one.

The Pirates have little choice but to give Kingham another shot at starting. Starters Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer are on the injured list.

That's why Steven Brault made his first start of the season Tuesday in the series opener. He gave up two runs and two hits in four innings and did not get a decision as the Pirates won 5-4. Brault was lifted after 66 pitches, and Kingham might be similarly limited.

Pittsburgh will not only go for the two-game series sweep Wednesday, but also a sweep of a four-game, home-and-home set with the Rangers. The Pirates won both games in a visit to Texas last week.

Miller will be working on six days' rest after he was one of the victims last week when Pittsburgh visited the Rangers.

He gave up four runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings last Wednesday, taking the loss in a 7-5 defeat.

It was the fifth straight start in which Miller gave up four runs.

Even before the start against the Pirates, the Rangers were contemplating whether to keep him in the rotation as he comes back from Tommy John surgery.

"We are going to obviously talk about everything and see what makes the most sense," Texas manager Chris Woodward said of perhaps moving Miller to the bullpen. "I can't say that right now. It's definitely an option. It's not a slight on him (or) thinking he can't start. He's got really good stuff and it plays at 94-95 (mph); out of the bullpen it might be 95-96. But, obviously, we'll discuss that with him if it ever gets to that point."

That sets up Wednesday's start as important for Miller.

He is 2-8 with a 5.22 ERA in 11 career starts against the Pirates, including a 1-4 record with a 6.92 ERA in five starts at PNC Park.

--Field Level Media

Updated May 8, 2019

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