Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lineup, Notes As Bucs Go For Sweep

The Royals' LHP Bruce Chen (5-5, 4.37) will face RHP AJ Burnett (5-2, 3.76) this afternoon. Chen has won five of his last six decisions, though he's 0-3 at PNC. Burnett only lasted five frames last outing. With the Buc bullpen getting its share of work lately, Clint Hurdle would like to get a longer start out of him. However, AJ has won four straight decisions. The game begins at 1:35 and will be shown on Root Sports.

The lineup: Alex Presley LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Casey McGehee 3B, Matt Hague 1B, Rod Barajas C, Josh Harrison RF, Clint Barmes SS, AJ Burnett P.

Against lefty Chen, Clint Hurdle sits Pedro and Garrett Jones for McGehee and Hague. Presley, a lefty, stays on top of the order while JT, a righty, gets some pine time and is replaced by Harrison. Worth watching is Cutch - he's in an 0-for-9 streak, seeing a lot of sliders and rolling over on them. If he takes a ball to right center instead of trying to pull, we'll know he's back on top of his game. And he loves his lefties, so this is a good time for him to get back on track.

  • Well, doh: The Pirates enter today’s action with best bullpen ERA (2.41) in MLB.
  • Pittsburgh will be out to complete their first sweep of an AL opponent since 2001, when they won three straight over the Indians.
  • Opponents have 19 straight successful steals against the Pirates, and overall, foes have converted 41 of 45 steals attempts.
  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said on his "Full Count" vid that "The Pirates have inquired about a number of corner infield bats, including Kevin Youkilis, Chase Headley, and Bryan LaHair. Some of those targets are more realistic than others, plus the trade market has yet to really materialize. There are far more buyers than sellers, though Pittsburgh has the pitching depth to swing a deal."
  • St. Louis has a run differential of +58, and the Pirates, a game ahead of them, sport a -18. Those numbers may not be reflected in the standings, but they're in play for playoff calculations: the Cards have a 64% chance of making the post season, while the Bucs have just a 26% shot.
  • The Royals recalled RHP Nate Adcock from AAA Omaha. 

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