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A preview of Friday's Pirates-Nationals game

| Friday, May 23, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

X-factors

Pirates beat reporter Travis Sawchik'sinside look at Friday's game:

• In 56 career at-bats against Jordan Zimmermann, current Pirates hitters have five home runs, including two each by Ike Davis and Andrew McCutchen. As a whole, the Pirates have hit Zimmermann well, producing a .304 batting line and 1.000 OPS. The Pirates have hit well against fastballs in recent years, and Zimmermann throws his fastball, which averages 94 mph on two-thirds of his pitch offerings.

• The winless Charlie Morton has been plagued by the big inning this year, but perhaps he's being bothered by something more significant: a velocity drop. Morton's average fastball is down 1.4 mph from his 2013 average. Morton's two-seamer averaged 92.8 mph last season. It's averaging 91.4 mph this season. Morton also has not shown a velocity increase as the year has gone along.

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