Thursday, April 14, 2016

Matinee double feature: Cole, Zimmermann clash

The Pirates and Tigers will wrap up what essentially has been a four-game, home-and-home Interleague series with what sounds like an old National League matchup. While Jordan Zimmermann returns to Senior Circuit surroundings to face Pittsburgh for the third time in his career, Gerrit Cole has his third meeting with the Tigers in what has become an annual Interleague meeting.
Zimmermann signed with the Tigers as a free agent last fall following seven seasons and 178 starts with the Washington Nationals. Yet he faced Pittsburgh just twice over that time, once each in 2012 and '14. The pitching lines were nearly identical, four runs on seven hits over six innings in defeat.
Zimmermann might focus more on following up his Tigers debut from last Friday, when he pitched seven scoreless innings while allowing two hits against the Yankees.
Cole, too, will be making his second start of the season after he admitted to being "a little rusty" in his opener, a 5-1 loss at Cincinnati last Saturday in which he gave up three runs on five hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
The Pirates beat the Tigers twice in Cole's starts last season, during which he allowed three runs over 12 2/3 innings with two walks and 14 strikeouts.
Three things to know
• While the Pirates haven't seen much of Zimmermann, former Cardinals third baseman David Freese has seen him well. He's 3-for-7 with a home run and two doubles against the big right-hander.
• Nick Castellanos went 3-for-5 against Cole last year.
• Thursday's game will be broadcast on MLB Network for viewers outside of Pittsburgh and Detroit.

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