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Sports BIT: Marlins-Bucs, Red Sox-Yanks & 2017 Ravens

Miami Marlins At Pittsburgh Pirates

Not the best matchup of Thursday between two losing teams, but this is all about Marlins pitcher Edinson Volquez. He comes off a no-hitter on Saturday vs. Arizona, the first no-no of the 2017 season. Only one pitcher in MLB history has thrown back-to-back no-hitters: Cincinnati’s Johnny Vander Meer in 1938.  Volquez nearly had to leave his start vs. the Diamondbacks after just one batter when he collided with Arizona leadoff man Rey Fuentes as Volquez covered first, rolled his ankle and took a hard fall. Volquez entered the game with a 1-7 record and 4.44 ERA and hadn’t lasted more than six innings all year. His .125 winning percentage was the lowest by a pitcher at the time of his no-hitter in MLB history. So don’t count on Volquez making history here. He’s opposed by Pirates ace Gerrit Cole (3-5, 4.27). He hasn’t pitched like an ace of late, allowing 16 earned runs in 14.2 innings over his past three starts. Cole has given up 15 homers this year, already four more than his career-high allowed.

Boston Red Sox At New York Yankees

These rivals close out a four-game series in the Bronx in an ESPN national TV game. Looks to be a good pitching matchup. It’s lefty David Price (1-0, 3.00) for Boston in only his third start of the year. His season debut was delayed due to shoulder troubles this spring. Price’s last start was the 250th his is career. He is one of 395 pitchers to make 250 starts who debuted since earned runs became official in both leagues in 1913, and only six others in addition to Price have had a .650 winning percentage, an ERA of 3.25 or lower, and 1,500 strikeouts over their first 250 starts. In his career at Yankee Stadium, Price is 8-5 with a 3.98 ERA. New York’s Michael Pineda (6-3, 3.76) has been largely terrific this year but was roughed up for 10 hits and five runs in a loss in Toronto in his last start. Prior to that, Pineda had a string of nine starts with three earned runs or fewer allowed.

Deep Dive On 2017 Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens hired John Harbaugh as their head coach in 2008 and they made the playoffs each year until 2012, winning the Super Bowl that last season. However, the team has missed the postseason two straight years and three of four since then. Is Harbaugh on the hot seat in 2017? Baltimore was 8-8 in 2016 and oddsmakers give it a win total of 9 this year. Joe Flacco’s offense was generally subpar last year, but the defense was very good. The club took defensive players with its first four picks in this year’s draft, led by Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey at No. 16 overall. Why not address the receiving corps? The Ravens didn't really replace Steve Smith, and Kamar Aiken chose to leave for Indianapolis. Baltimore has injury-prone Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace and not much else. Tight end Dennis Pitta was just released after another hip injury.