Cubs, Pirates Face Off In Key NL Central Matchup Tonight On MNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Pittsburgh Pirates took 2 of 3 against the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, winning 4 – 1 and 5 – 1 Friday and Saturday respectively.  But the Reds got a bit of revenge Sunday night, taking the last of the teams’ 3-game series 6 – 5 in extra innings.  Now after that tough loss the Pirates look to regroup as they are set to face yet another NL Central foe this week in the form of the Chicago Cubs.  The teams face off this week in a 3-game series that begins tonight.  And ESPN will have full coverage of the series’ opener in this week’s edition of Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA.

Tonight’s game (and the series in whole) will have major implications for both teams even this early in the season.  That is because there’s more than just NL pride on the line.  The team’s cross city rivals, the White Sox, currently sit at 18 – 8 on the season so far.  The Cubs on the other hand are 17 – 6 so far on the season.  In the NL ranks, the Cubs are currently trying to hold off the second place Washington Nationals (17 – 7).  A win tonight (and wins Tuesday and Wednesday) would help the Cubs pad their lead over the Nats.  It would also help the Cubs in their rivalry with the White Sox.  On the other side of the ball, a win in tonight’s series opener (combined with wins Tuesday and Wednesday) would help the Pirates as they battle with the Phillies and the Cubs for position.

Gerrit Cole is currently expected to start for the Pirates tonight.  He is 2- 2 so far on the season.  His last time on the mound was six days ago on April 26th against Colorado.  The Pirates routed the Rockies in that game 9 – 4 with Cole pitching six innings.  Cole didn’t have the greatest game, allowing 4 runs and 2 earned runs on 8 hits, and 1 home run.  He walked 2 and struck out 3.  This was all against 27 total batters.  Thanks to good fielding on Pittsburgh’s side and just as many problems for Colorado’s bullpen, the Pirates were able to pull off the win.

Starting for the Cubs tonight will be Jason Hammel.  Hammel is currently 3 – 0 on the season.  He has had plenty of time to rest and prepare for tonight’s game.  That’s because his last time on the mound was seven days ago against the Reds.  The Cubs blanked the Reds in that game 9 – 0.  Hammel was credited with the win having pitched 6 innings.  He was in top form in the game, too, allowing 0 runs on only 3 hits.  He walked only 2 of the 23 batters that he faced and struck out 7 while allowing 0 home runs and 0 earned runs.  Red pitcher Alfredo Simon meanwhile struggled mightily in the game, pitching only 2.2 innings before being pulled.  In that short time, he allowed 8 runs, 8 earned runs, and 2 home runs on 10 hits.  He walked only 1 of the 18 batters that he faced and struck out only 3.  So needless to say that Hammel will be on his A-game tonight.

Adding to the interest for tonight’s game (and this week’s series) is that while Pittsburgh and Chicago are evenly matched in their home records—Pittsburgh is 7 – 4 at home so far this season to Chicago’s 7 – 3—the visiting Cubs are 10 – 3 on the road so far to Pittsburgh’s 8 – 6 road record.  Chicago is 7 – 3 in its last 10 games while Pittsburgh is 8 – 2 in its last 10.  So when all of the numbers are added up, they show tonight’s game to be full of fireworks for both sides.  The same can be said of Tuesday and Wednesday’s games, too.

Dave Flemming will be in the booth for tonight’s game.  He will be joined by analysts Dallas Braden and Eduardo Perez for additional commentary.  ESPN Deportes will simulcast the game for the network’s Spanish-speaking audiences.  More information on tonight’s game is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Heads To The Big Apple This Week For Sunday Night Baseball Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s weekly baseball broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball heads back to the Big Apple this weekend as the Yankees take on the Mets in the third of a three-game series between the teams this weekend.

Dan Shulman will anchor Sunday’s broadcast. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk, and reporter Buster Olney. Audiences that won’t be near a TV during the game can also catch it on their local ESPN Radio station and online via WatchESPN. Jon Sciambi will have the call for ESPN Radio. He will be joined by Chris Singleton. It will also be available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes for all of ESPN’s Spanish-speaking audiences. Sunday night’s televised broadcast will be preceded by its weekly early pre-game show Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet at 7pm ET. Karl Ravech will anchor Sunday night’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst Aaron Boone and ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian. Nicole Briscoe, the newest addition to ESPN’s MLB broadcast team, will also be on hand with coverage during Baseball Tonight. Audiences can also catch game two of the teams’ series this weekend on ESPN Radio. Jon Sciambi will have the call for that game, too. He will be joined by Chris Singleton for that game, too.

Before Sunday night’s broadcast, fans will also be treated to a pair of games featuring the Washington Nationals. The ‘Nats currently sit third in the NL East, four games back from the Mets, who currently lead the division at 10 – 3. Washington has gone 5 – 5 in its last ten games and has performed slightly better at home than on the road going 4 – 3 at home and 2 – 4 on the road. Speaking of that record, the first of Washington’s games on ESPN this week will see the Nats at home against the NL Central leading Cardinals Wednesday night. The Nats’ second game on ESPN this week will see the team on the road against Atlanta next Monday, April 27th at 7pm ET. Jon Sciambi will have the call for Wednesday night’s game. He will be joined by analysts Rick Sutcliffe and Doug Glanville for the game. Next Monday night’s game will be the network’s game of the week on Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA. It will be called by Dave O’Brien. He will be joined Aaron Boone and Mark Mulder for the broadcast on ESPN. And for those not near a TV, the game will also be available online via WatchESPN. The complete broadcast schedule for this week and next week’s games is noted below complete with broadcast times and platforms.

Date Time (ET) Show / Commentators Network (s)
Wed, Apr 22 7 p.m.    St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals    Jon Sciambi, Rick Sutcliffe, Doug Glanville ESPN, WatchESPN
Sat, Apr 25 3 p.m.     New York Mets at New York Yankees–Jon Sciambi, Chris Singleton ESPN Radio
Sun, Apr 26 7 p.m.    Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown Presented by ChevroletKarl Ravech, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian ESPN, WatchESPN
8 p.m. New York Mets at New York Yankees Presented by Taco Bell–Dan Shulman, Curt Schilling, John Kruk, Buster Olney ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN
Mon, Apr 27 7 p.m. Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves–Dave O’Brien, Aaron Boone, Mark Mulder ESPN, WatchESPN

Fans can get all of the latest MLB news and coverage from ESPN online every day at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Pirates Host Cards This Weekend On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s 25th season covering Major League Baseball rolls on this Sunday as the Worldwide Leader in Sports comes to Pittsburgh for a matchup of the Pirates and Cardinals. It all starts at 7pm ET with ESPN’s Baseball Tonight live on ESPN.

Sunday night’s 8PM ET broadcast of the Pirates/Cardinals matchup on Sunday Night Baseball is an important landmark for ESPN as it will be the first time since July 28, 1996 that ESPN has broadcasted a Sunday Night baseball game live from PNC Park and the first time since that day that ESPN has broadcasted its weekly pre-game program, Baseball Tonight. Dan Shulman will anchor Sunday’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney. Jon Sciambi will anchor ESPN Radio’s simulcast of Sunday night’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst Chris Singleton for the game. Sunday’s matchup between the Pirates and Cardinals will also be available on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.

Jon Hamm, start of Disney’s new movie Million Dollar Arm is scheduled to appear on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight live at 7pm ET as part of the network’s lead up to Sunday night’s game. Along with being an actor, Hamm is also an avid baseball fan. He will join Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech and MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin for Sunday evening’s broadcast live from PNC Park. Baseball Tonight will broadcast live on Federal Street near the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

The Cardinals will head back to St. Louis after Sunday night’s game and prepare to host Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball Presented by USAA live at 8pm ET. Dave O’Brien will anchor Monday’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst Aaron Boone and reporter Tim Kurkjian. Monday’s game will be preceded by ESPN’s weekly Monday night pre-game show Baseball Tonight. Karl Ravech will anchor the broadcast, which begins at 7:30pm ET. He will be joined by John Kruk and Ozzie Guillen. Monday night’s game (and Sunday’s) will also be available on ESPN Deportes, online and via all mobile internet platforms.

More information on ESPN’s 25th Anniversary season of MLB coverage is available online now at http://www.facebok.com/ESPNBaseballTonight and http://espn.go.com/mlb. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.