Game 41 Preview: Pirates at Tigers

MIAMI, FL - MAY 15: Kevin Correia #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on May 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Pirates (19-21) at Detroit Tigers (19-21)

Time/Place: Comerica Park, 1:05 p.m.

SB Nation Blog: Bucs Dugout

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Kevin Correia (1-4, 4.50 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (2-3, 6.26 ERA)

Correia is the whipping boy of the Pirates' rotation. He has a lower ERA than A.J. Burnett and has been just as effective as Charlie Morton in 2012. Yet still, fans have been calling for his head for most of the season. Basically, he's Brad Penny. He has four quality starts this season, but his ERA has been elevated by a couple of rough outings, including his last start against the Miami Marlins. Speaking of the Marlins (or former Marlins, that is), Miguel Cabrera has a career .538 average against Correia.

While Correia has been effective so far this year, his peripherals don't suggest that it will continue. His ground ball percentage is 55.1%, nearly 12% higher than his career average. He's striking out less batters and walking more, and his BABIP is a low (for a pitcher of his caliber) .243. He also has a creepy, Daniel Schlereth-like mustache, and that probably weirds some people out.

Writing previews for Scherzer makes me sad. Whenever I talk about his previous start, whether it was good or bad, I fully expect DOOM his next time out. He's a very talented pitcher who has the potential to go out and dominate a game, but then starts like his last one happen and we're all left wondering which way is up. A cool stat: Scherzer is currently tied for 10th in the American League in strikeouts with Jake Peavy. With the way the Pirates have swung the bat this series, we could reasonably expect him to jump into the top 5 by the end of the day. You get three guesses who leads the AL, and the first two don't count.

Trivia of the day (no cheating!)

Which Tiger has a career .429 average against Correia in 7 at bats? Hints: he used to play in the National League and he's very unlikely to get an at bat today.

Seriously, don't pitch to McCutchen

Outlook

This win-lose-win-lose pattern is getting very frustrating. It especially gets frustrating when you're getting beat by bad teams. The frustration gets to otherworldly levels when you're getting beat by bad teams because you refuse to pitch around the one or two players in their lineup that can beat you. I must have seen it coming though, because I picked Andrew McCutchen in Pick 6 yesterday. As for the game itself, it really depends on how Scherzer pitches. If he's on, we're in great shape. If he's not, look out.

Prediction

Cabrera hits a homer today.

Gameday Reading:

Andrew McCutchen Hits Two Homers, Leads Bucs To 4-3 Win - Bucs Dugout, Charlie Wilmoth
"This afternoon's performance and Friday night's, if you combine them, form just about as perfect a microcosm of the Pirates' offense's season as I can imagine."

It's time to take Kevin Correia out of the rotation - WHYGAVS, Pat Lackey
"If they keep trotting Correia out there every fifth day, it's going to be ugly. It's going to be hard to watch. It'll be humiliating for Correia."

Pirates To Promote Jeff Locke, Place Jason Grilli On Bereavement List - Bucs Dugout, Charlie Wilmoth
Needless to say, Grilli won't be pitching again today.

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