|Williams, Zimmerman to return for Pirates-Tigers matchup|
The host Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers will have something in common Wednesday in the back half of a two-game series.
And not just the fact that their seasons have not gone as well as hoped.
Both teams are expected to get a starter back from injury.
Pittsburgh right-hander Trevor Williams (2-1, 3.33 ERA) is scheduled to face Detroit right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (0-4, 5.93 ERA).
Williams has been on the injured list since May 17, a day after he left a start in San Diego because of a right-side strain.
Before that game, he lasted at least six innings in each of his first eight starts after turning in a strong second half last year. The Pirates are 6-3 in his nine starts in 2019.
"Being on the bench and not being able to help the team is tough," Williams said. "It's my first time on the IL, and, hopefully, my last. It's exciting to get back in there. I'm going to help the team as much as I can."
Thursday, Williams made a rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis. He allowed two earned runs and four hits in three innings, with five strikeouts and one walk, throwing 71 pitches. He then threw another 19 pitches indoors.
"I wish I could have gone six shutout innings and had everything run smoothly, but it doesn't always happen that way," Williams told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I don't have any residuals with my side. It was encouraging to go out there and fill up the zone as much as I could and get back out on the mound with a jersey."
Williams has had good success against the Tigers. He is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three career starts.
Pittsburgh has lost nine of its past 11 games after dropping Tuesday's series opener 5-4, a game in which three errors and at least one poor defensive decision were costly. In other recent games, the pitching or occasionally the offense has let the team down.
"You need to play complete games to win at this level," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Sometimes it's hard to win when you don't. That's kind of where we're at right now."
The Tigers, who dropped a two-game set to the Pirates in April, broke a four-game losing streak on Tuesday but are 4-11 in June.
Like Williams, Zimmermann is expected to be activated from the injured list to start Wednesday, although manager Ron Gardenhire said before Tuesday's game that "somebody's got to actually walk in and tell me he's starting," according to MLB.com, and added that Zimmermann is "supposed to be able to go 70 pitches."
Zimmermann was put on the injured list April 26, a day after he sustained an elbow strain. In six starts, he has 21 strikeouts and 11 walks but hasn't been able to muster a win. Against the Pirates he is 1-3 with six starts and a 4.76 ERA.
Thursday, he pitched 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Toledo. He gave up four earned runs, including two homers, and struck out six, throwing 69 pitches.
Zimmermann labeled his mechanics "fine," according to the Detroit Free Press. "One homer to center would have been caught in center field (in Detroit). Everything was coming out. Curveball was good, slider was where it needed to be. And I was spotting the fastball, so I was happy with it."
--Field Level Media