Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lineup, Notes, Bats' Sweet June Tune

RHP Jeff Karstens (0-2, 6.35 ERA) will stare down the Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (10-3, 3.23) this afternoon. Karstens had a turbulent return to the bump after an extended trip to the DL. Lynn has been knocked around his past couple of starts after charging out of the blocks to begin the season when he notched a pair of W against Pittsburgh. It'll be a hot weekend, and not just because of the baseball - it's supposed to be 104 today and 102 tomorrow in the Mound City. The game is scheduled for 2:15 and will be aired by Root Sports.

The lineup: Alex Presley LF, Jose Tabata RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Clint Barmes SS, Mike McKenry C, Jeff Karstens P.

No surprises here - Presley earned another shot at leadoff. Funny how a little competition works; McGehee and Jones took off after Matt Hague started at first for a week, and The King grew a little more patient at the plate after three starts from Drew Sutton. Hot Rod is down because of a day-after-night game; no sense in pressing his luck with the stiff knee.

  • Is Cutch clutch? 9 of the 15 HR smacked by the Bucco CF'er this season left the yard with runners on base. That's tied for the most in the NL with Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez and Joey Votto. 
  • The Pirates have hit a NL leading 38 home runs this month (it’s also the third most in MLB behind the Yankees and Blue Jays). That's the most long flies in June by the team since 1999. The club record for the month is 39 hit in 1975.
  • Pittsburgh has gone deep in a season-high seven straight games, their longest stretch since 2010. The last time Pittsburgh homered in more than seven straight games was in 2008 (nine from June 10-19).
  • With last night's offensive outburst, the Bucs have become the highest scoring club for June in MLB, two runs ahead of the Mets. Both are pretty unlikely teams to find atop the offensive leaderboard though there are still a handful of teams within hailing distance, led by the Angels and Red Sox, with a game to go.
  • There are some sites in the web world that calculate a team's playoff odds daily. Going into today, Cool Standings/ESPN rank the Pirate chances at 54.6% , although Baseball Prospectus remains a doubting Thomas, giving the Bucs just a 21.3% shot at the grail. After last night's win, the Pirates are tied for the second wild card position with the Mets and a game behind the top dog Dodgers. They also sit one game behind the Reds in the NL Central race.
  • Some nice pitching efforts on the farm last night. At Indy, LHP Jeff Locke went six scoreless innings, giving up four hits with two walks while fanning six. For the Curve, RHP Phil Irwin yielded one run on six hits with no walks and six K in seven innings.West Virginia's RHP Zach Von Rosenberg put up six goose eggs, allowing seven hits and a walk while punching out six.
  • More good minor news: Jon Anderson of McEffort noted that "In June, Starling Marte has torched pitchers with a .310 average, four home runs, 27 RBIs and a .921 OPS." So the Bucs' top position prospect may yet be working his way to Pittsburgh this summer.
  • Dewey, as rumored, did sign a two year extension with the Twins for $7M. Doumit's line this year is almost a clone of his career slash. You may recall that his declined option with Pittsburgh for this year was worth $7.25M; he inked a FA deal with the Twin Cities for $3M.

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