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Series Preview 5/25-7: Cardinals at Pirates

The Birds and Bucs will battle in the Steel City this weekend

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

After a day off on Thursday, the Cardinals are in Pittsburgh for a three-game series with the Pirates this weekend. The Cardinals (26-21) and Pirates (27-22) enter the series tied for second place in the National League Central behind the Brewers.

In Friday’s series opener, Joe Musgrove will go up against John Gant at 6:05 PM Central time. Musgrove will be making his 2018 and Pirates debut on Friday after joining the team in the trade that sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros. Musgrove missed well over a month as he recovered from a strained right shoulder that made him start the season on the disabled list. The 2017 World Series champion most recently rehabbed with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate; he fanned 11 batters and walked two in a pair of starts for Indianapolis.

Gant is starting his third game for the Cardinals this season and the second in a rotation spot formally held by Adam Wainwright. Overall, it will be Gant’s sixth appearance for St. Louis. His last time out against the Phillies, Gant logged 4 13 innings, allowing three runs and fanning seven in what was a no-decision.

Trevor Williams and Jack Flaherty will toe the rubber in Saturday’s 3:05 PM start. In 10 starts for Pittsburgh this season, Williams has maintained a 3.05 ERA over 59 innings of work. Williams defeated the Cardinals on April 28, when he allowed two runs over six frames. Dating back to 2016, Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham each have two doubles and two homers in their careers facing Williams.

Flaherty twirled a gem in his last start, a 7 2/3-inning, one-run affair against the Phillies. In the outing, Flaherty achieved a career-best in innings and fanned 13 batters, also a personal high. Definitely earning it, Flaherty picked up the win, his first in the Majors. Flaherty pitched opposite of Williams on April 28; Flaherty went five innings and allowed three runs, including a home run to Francisco Cervelli.

Sunday’s series finale will feature a mound matchup of Jameson Taillon and Miles Mikolas, with first pitch scheduled fro 12:35 PM. Taillon has logged 51 13 innings in 10 starts, during which batters are hitting .250 with seven home runs and 16 walks. Taillon pitched a one-hit shutout against the Reds in early April, yet surrendered six earned runs in as many innings in his last start. In his career facing Taillon, Pham is 4-for-10 with two doubles.

Mikolas went the distance in his last start, shutting out the Royals to account for St. Louis’s first complete game of the year. Mikolas leads the pitching staff in several categories, notably on top with a 0.98 WHIP and 60 13 frames, and his six walks are the fewest among starters. On April 27, Mikolas held Pittsburgh to two runs with seven punchouts in one of his four, seven-inning outings this year.