Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lotsa Saturday Notes

-- Charlie Morton takes on Kyle Kendrick tonight at 7:05 PM. The game will be aired by Root Sports. Kendrick is 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in his two starts this season (3-3, 3.18 overall in 2011), but had success against the Pirates in his career, going 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in four starts. Too bad Roy Halladay starts tomorrow instead of today; it would be fun to see the master and the cricket match up.

-- The lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Xavier Paul RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Neil Walker 2B, Lyle Overbay 1B, Chris Snyder C, Brandon Wood 3B, Ronny Cedeno SS, Charlie Morton P.

Snyder is right back in the saddle after catching a 12 inning game last night, and Wood gets a shot at third after Josh Harrison's 0-fer. Paul gets the start for Garrett Jones as Clint Hurdle sticks with the hot hand and rewards the X-Man for his single, stolen base, and game winning slide in last night's win.

-- Pittsburgh expects a sellout tonight and 25,000+ for Sunday afternoon. With a few more games like last night's, we'll find out quickly enough if da 'Burgh is a baseball town or not. Maybe the Steel City will get to the point where Philly and Tiger fans have a hard time finding tickets for a road trip. The Pirates are 7-2 against the Phillies in the last nine games here; Philadelphia is 12-21 all-time at PNC Park.

-- Garrett Jones (.228/6/18) best pick up his game; Xavier Paul (.305/0/6) is doing his job and fits into the lineup better at the top of the order, while Alex Presley (.344/8/31) continues to rake at Indy. Both are younger, and make a deadline (or sooner) deal involving Jones a lot more likely if all three keep on like they're keepin' on. Matt Diaz (.255/0/9) is safe for the time being; he's come around some recently, has a two-year deal, and there is no MLB-ready RH OF'er knocking on the Pirates door.

-- From what we've heard and read from the tea leaves, Steve Pearce is at least two and more probably three weeks away from returning to action. So moan about Lyle Overbay (.233/5/21) if you want; unless the Bucs swing a deal, which is quite unlikely, there's no one in the organization that can replace him now.

-- A little factoid, compliments of's Peter Gammons: what do Jayson Werth, Neil Walker, Craig Biggio, Daric Barton, Brandon Snyder, Brett Lawrie and Mitch Maier have in common? All were drafted as catchers and switched positions.

-- Lookin' more and more like Gerritt Cole is da man. Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette thinks so, along with Baseball America's Jim Callis. This is the fourth time the Pirates have landed the first overall pick. They selected Jeff King in 1986, Kris Benson in 1996 and Bryan Bullington in 2002 with their other top picks.

-- Mathew Pouliot of Hardball Talk defends the Bucs handling of Jose Bautista when he was a Pirate, although he's not so sure about the coaching.

-- Ya think catchers have a short shelf life? How about Altoona's drawing card tonight? He's Mad Chad, and his claim to fame is that he juggles chain saws! Kinda makes you appreciate the Zambelli brothers.

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