Previewing Saturday's Pirates-Yankees game
Pirates beat reporter Travis Sawchik'sinside look at Saturday's game:
• The Yankees have several runners with plus speed in Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. The Bronx Bombers have traded some power for speed as they rank eighth in baseball in steals. With Russell Martin out of the lineup, the Yankees could be more aggressive on the bases, particularly when Tony Sanchez is catching.
• The Pirates hope Edinson Volquez's strikeout rate increases with warmer weather. The Pirates signed Volquez in part for his bat-missing ability but he's averaging three fewer strikeouts per nine innings as a Pirates compared to his career average (5.19 k/9 vs. 8.26). Volquez's changeup has traditionally been his strikeout pitch but opponents are swinging and missing at the pitch at a 13 percent rate compared to his 20 percent career average.
The Pirates are fortunate to miss Masahiro Tanaka this weekend. The Yankees are 7-1 in games started by Tanaka and 14-18 in all other games.