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Cleveland Indians vs. Pittsburgh Pirates — the decider

Turn up the heat. The Tribe's flamethrower Danny Salazar matches up with his Pirates counterpart Gerrit Cole in the (burning) rubber game of this three-game series, as Giovanny Urshela looks to extend his hitting streak to 14.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Cleveland Indians @ Pittsburgh Pirates

Sunday July 5 2015, 13:35 ET, PNC Park


Radio: WTAM


Hold on to your hats, this one is going to be fast and furious. Danny Salazar and Gerrit Cole are two of the top five MLB starters in terms of fastball velocity, according to Fangraphs, averaging 95.1 MPH and 95.7 MPH respectively.

After a couple of rocky outings, Salazar was back to his best against the Rays last week, going 7.2 IP for one run on two hits and two walks, although strangely for him, with only two strikeouts. His counterpart Cole is enjoying the best year of his career, pitching to a 2.5 WAR with a 2.20 ERA/2.65 FIP.

Cole is actually a former UCLA teammate of Trevor Bauer, but there's no news on whether he shares Bauer's flair for hitter impersonations. The Pirates ace is certainly no mug with the bat, however, holding a career .185 average including a homer last year, whereas it would be a something of a miracle if Salazar were even to get on base.

Today's Lineups

Jason Kipnis - 2B Josh Harrison - RF
Francisco Lindor - SS Neil Walker - 2B
Michael Brantley - LF Andrew McCutchen - CF
Carlos Santana - 1B Starling Marte - LF
Brandon Moss - RF Jung-Ho Kang - 3B
Giovanny Urshela - 3B Pedro Alvarez - 1B
Michael Bourn - CF Jordy Mercer - SS
Roberto Perez - C Chris Stewart - C
Danny Salazar - RHP Gerrit Cole - RHP

Giovanny Urshela will be looking to extend his 13-game hitting streak, in every game of which he has made precisely one hit and one hit only (see Jason's article here). With the pitcher hitting, there is no room in the lineup for David Murphy, as Tito is keeping faith the out-of-sorts Carlos Santana.