The lineup: Jose Tabata RF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Pedro Alvarez DH, Garrett Jones 1B, Josh Harrison 3B, Rod Barajas C, Nate McLouth LF, Clint Barmes SS.
Pedro gets a blow as DH while Harrison goes to the hot corner. He's been a regular part of the lineup recently, having played DH, SS and 2B. Hey, ride a bat while it's hot.
Harrison has been on tear lately, and it seems due (by eyeball, not research) to a little more disciplined approach at bat. Oh, he's still not gonna draw but a once in a blue moon walk, but he's cut back on the off-the-plate stuff he swings at lately, especially early in the count, and it seems to be paying off. And it's just not Josh that needed to calm down. The Pirates are one of the top teams for swinging at pitches off the plate (33%), and not coincidentally, lead the MLB with a 23% strikeout rate. Walks are generally overrated, but plate discipline, hitter's counts and getting a good pitch to hit aren't.
- LHP Jeff Locke joined the team today, replacing Jason Grilli who is on bereavement leave after the passing of his wife's grandfather.
- Elias Sports Bureau sez: The only other Pirate in last 25 years to record multi-HR games over a 3 game span beside Cutch is Pedro Alvarez, who hit two home runs in back-to-back games in July 2010.
- The Bucs are pretty bad in series openers this year, going 3-11. On the other side of the coin, they're 8-2 in three-game set getaway games.
- If you're wondering, Tiger CF Austin Jackson has been out with a mild abdominal injury this series. That's why the Bucs have been given a big dose of Butler native and former Mt. Lebanon HS player Don Kelly, who is also the hubby of Neil Walker's sis Carrie.
- Does this sound familiar? The Tigers haven't won back-to-back games since defeating the Royals on April 17-18.
- For those of you taking part in the Starling Marte watch, don't hold your breath. He's still learning the trade at Indy and hitting .246.
- 1B Matt Adams of Slippery Rock U. and Philipsburg will join the Cards today. Known for a big stick, he is a top ten SL prospect and was the Texas League MVP last year.