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Saturday's scouting report: Nationals at Pirates

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Friday, May 23, 2014, 9:42 p.m.
 

X-factors

Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel's inside look at Saturday's game:

• The Gerrit Cole vs. Stephen Strasburg matchup is the NL's first between two pitchers who were No. 1 overall draft picks since Kris Benson (Mets) faced Paul Wilson (Reds) on May 16, 2005, in New York. Strasburg made his debut vs. the Pirates on June 8, 2010, and he is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in four career starts against them. Cole beat the Nationals in his only start against them, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings (1.29 ERA).

• The Nationals hit at least one homer in 13 of their first 15 games, but have gone deep in only 15 of 32 games since. Blame the injury bug. During their stretch of reduced power, the Nats have not had sluggers Ryan Zimmerman (0 games), Bryce Harper (9 games, 0 HR), Wilson Ramos (11 games, 0 HR) and Adam LaRoche (18 games, 3 HR) in the lineup on a regular basis.

The Buzz

Manager Clint Hurdle has been asked to speak at Franklin Regional High's commencement service June 6, although plans have not yet been finalized. “It's humbling,” Hurdle said.

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