It's a pair of hot teams running into one another. The Bucs have won 7-of-8 series while the Tigers have taken four straight series. The duo of Verlander and Scherzer struck out 27 and held Pittsburgh to a pair of runs a month ago in Detroit. So the team has its work cut out for it. A little rain won't hurt; it should clear out by gametime. And that's good - a big crowd is expected tonight.
The lineup: Alex Presley LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Casey McGehee 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Rod Barajas C, Clint Barmes SS, AJ Burnett P.
Scary, but about as good as the Bucco lineup gets, maybe you could slip in Josh Harrison. Still, it shows how badly the Pirates need some OF help; maybe a deal sooner and Starling Marte (.261/5/34 @ Indy) a little later?
- A.J. Burnett will try to become the first Pirate pitcher to win seven straight starts (he did it once for Florida in 2005) since Dock Ellis notched eight straight in 1974.
- The Pirates are 8-7 interleague this year, the same record as last season, with the weekend set against the Tigers still to go.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James McDonald is the only Pirates pitcher since 1900 to allow three or fewer runs in each of his first 14 starts of a season.
- Gordon Edes of ESPN tweeted that it wouldn't surprise him to see the Pirates check in on OFs Ryan Kalish or Cody Ross when Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford return to the Red Sox.
- Eric Seidman at Fangraphs is another fan of Cody Ross and Pittsburgh getting together.
- It took awhile, but Joe Lemire of Sports Illustrated relates when Gregg Ritchie stepped in to smooth out Cutch's swing in the minors when he hit his first rough bump at the dish.