Jose Tabata RF, Alex Presley LF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Casey McGehee 3B, Matt Hague 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Rod Barajas C, Clint Barmes SS, Jeff Karstens P.
It's an interesting card that Clint Hurdle has drawn up against Cliff Lee. First, Presley and Tabata were flipped; we always thought that with all things being equal that a lefty should fill the two hole. Then McGehee and Hague were inserted into the heart of the order and Walker, who has a lifetime .308/.348/.445 line against LH starters, was dropped to sixth from cleanup. Finally, it will be Hague's MLB baptism.
- One matchup that could be key tonight, as pointed out by Baseball Prospectus writer John Perrotto: "Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins is 6-for-13 with 1 2B, 2 BB against Pirates RHP Jeff Karstens." On the other side of the coin, Rumbunter noted that "Neil Walker (is) three for four off Cliff Lee."
- If you're out of Root Sports range, tonight's game will also be carried by the MLB Network.
- Good rehab start for RHP AJ Burnett. He pitched 4-2/3 innings for High A Bradenton, allowing a run on a walk and two hits, with five strikeouts. He threw 67 pitches with 43 going for strikes.
- Not so good for the prospects, though. Indy LHP Justin Wilson and West Virginia's RHP Stetson Allie couldn't find the plate in their opening outings. Wilson went 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 2 hits with six walks and six Ks. Allie only got one out, giving up two runs on four walks, a K and three wild pitches.
- There were a couple of early injuries, too. Indy's UT Jake Fox is on the 7-day minor league DL, reports Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects, and Altoona RHP Ryan Beckman hurt his elbow last night. It'll be examined today to determine its severity, according to Kristy Robinson.
- McKechnie Field made the inside cover of latest Sports Illustrated issue. The article said "The intimate atmosphere at McKechnie Field makes the Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training home in Bradenton one of SI's top sports places to visit."