Andrew McCutchen's torrid pace has pulled the Pittsburgh Pirates into the playoff race, but a knee issue is cause for concern for the former MVP. The five-time All-Star hopes to be ready to go when the Pirates continue a three-game series at the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

McCutchen took himself out of Friday's series opener with what the club called patellofemoral discomfort in his left knee, although he told reporters he felt better after the game and would be able to test things out on the field prior to Saturday's contest. The Pirates' leader in homers (23) and RBIs (71) had a run-scoring double in the third inning before leaving, part of a four-run rally that held up in the 4-2 win Friday night. After winning for the fifth time in six games, Pittsburgh remained three games back of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central, while the Blue Jays are 4 1/2 out of the second wild-card in the American League. Chris Rowley, who served two years in the U.S. Army after joining Toronto's organization, will be making his major league debut on the mound for the Blue Jays on Saturday opposite fellow right-hander Trevor Williams.

TV: 1:07 p.m. ET, MLB Network, AT&T SportsNet - Pittsburgh, Sportsnet (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Trevor Williams (5-4, 4.17 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Chris Rowley (NR)

Williams limited Detroit to one hit in seven scoreless innings Monday, giving him a sparkling 1.47 ERA over his last three starts. The 25-year-old has allowed just two home runs in his last 10 starts, although both of them came on the road, where his ERA sits at 4.89. Williams is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career interleague starts.

Rowley returned from two years in the service to pitch at Class-A Dunedin last year, going 10-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 31 games (14 starts). He opened 2017 with Double-A New Hampshire and dominated, posting a 1.73 ERA while recording 49 strikeouts and nine walks in 52 innings. The Atlanta native, who turns 27 on Monday, then went 3-3 with a 2.39 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Buffalo.


1. The Pirates will be playing their second straight game without manager Clint Hurdle, who is away from the team to attend Don Baylor's funeral. Bench coach Tom Prince is managing the team in his absence.

2. Toronto C Russell Martin (oblique) left Friday's game and DH Kendrys Morales (illness) missed his second consecutive contest.

3. Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista homered Friday for the third time in as many games and is batting .418 in interleague play this season.

PREDICTION: Pirates 6, Blue Jays 4