The Pirates look to climb within one game of first place tonight, assuming the Reds lose in their game against the Detroit Tigers, by beating the Kansas City Royals and at least taking the series two games to one.
James McDonald will take the ball for the Pirates tonight, looking to continue where he left off with the Brewers on Sunday. In his six innings pitched, McDonald allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits while walking one and striking out eight. This season, McDonald has easily been the best pitches on the Bucs, having a 2.14 ERA through 71.1 innings, spread out over 11 starts, allowing just 0.95 hits and walks per inning and striking out 71. McDonald has also been masterful at home, starting six games at PNC Park with an ERA of 1.28 while pitching 42.1 innings.
The Royals will send out Vin Mazzaro to combat McDonald. In two starts for the Royals his season, Mazzaro has an ERA of 2.25 through 12 innings pitched, while having a WHIP of 1.25. In his previous start, on June 3rd, Mazzaro went six strong innings, allowing no runs on four hits and three walks, while also striking out three.