The Pittsburgh Pirates are gearing up for their first exhibition games. The Bucs have just finished a week of intrasquad games at PNC Park. In the first of a three-game exhibition set, the Pirates will host the Cleveland Indians on July 18th. The series will move to Progressive Field on July 20th, before ending up back in Pittsburgh.
The three games are scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET. With the new preseason rules in place during the pandemic, each team must play three exhibition games. The Pirates chose to play the maximum number of games to ensure they aren’t just playing intrasquad games.
“Once we get into a real game we’ll be thinking about situations that are going to happen when we play St. Louis, Chicago or Milwaukee,” manager Derek Shelton said.
Pittsburgh will also host Cleveland in the regular season. The two clubs meet each other twice this year, once at PNC Park from August 18-20. Then the Pirates will be going to Progressive Field in late September.
Looking ahead, the Pirates play Cleveland next June in 2021. The last time the Indians made an appearance at PNC Park was in 2015. The Pirates won two games out of three, from July 3-5 that year. Fans hope the Bucs have the same success in 2020.
“I think it’ll be really good being able to face another team,” right-hander JT Burbaker said. “It’ll be treating it more like an actual Spring Training instead of playing intrasquads.” Players are clearly excited to go up against other teams, as well as start the season in late-July.
The Pirates last played at Progressive Field two years ago. They won two of three and famously stretched their winning streak to 11 games, just before the trade deadline.
These will be the first exhibition game played at PNC Park since April 1, 2001. The Pirates hosted the Mets just before the official opening of PNC Park.
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