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As expected, Clay Holmes will join Ivan Nova as Pirates starters for Saturday doubleheader

July 14, 2018

Clay Holmes made his MLB debut for the Pirates earlier this season; he is scheduled to make his second MLB start for the Pirates on Saturday. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)

Via their official game notes, the Pirates on Friday confirmed what had been assumed for some time now: Clay Holmes will be recalled to serve as the starter for one of the games of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Holmes will start Game 2 against lefty Brent Suter; veteran Ivan Nova and the Brewers’ Chase Anderson are the probable starters for the 12:35 p.m. first pitch of Game 1.

The 25-year-old Holmes will be making his second major-league start; he lasted 2 1/3 innings of a loss at the Dodgers on the Fourth of July. The 6-foot-5 righthander made two prior relief appearances for the Pirates this season, allowing a combined one run in four innings.

Manager Clint Hurdle cited Holmes’ recent strong performance in explaining the decision to use Holmes. Over his past five minor-league outings (the most recent one was for Single-A Bradenton because of the Triple-A all-star break), Holmes has allowed three earned runs on 26 hits and four walks in 31 1/3 innings (0.86 ERA, 0.96 WHIP).

“The performance in Indy was lights out. And so what’s next?” Hurdle said. “You want to find out how does that equate and what does that translate to up there.

“I think he really walked away from the outing in L.A. with some good stuff to hunt and some areas that brought immediate attention to where he can improve. It was a really good opportunity for him to get on a major league mound there. Fifty-three-thousand people as well. Big crowd, fun crowd. Good lineup. A lot of positives to walk away from.”

Holmes has walked six batters in 6 1/2 MLB innings but has walked 30 in 72 1/3 minor-league innings. A ninth-round pick in 2011, Holmes has a 3.37 ERA in 38 career Triple-A games.

Holmes is expected to be the “26th man” MLB permits as a roster exemption for the second game of doubleheaders.

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