Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Notes & Lineup

RHP James McDonald (4-2, 2.20) takes the hill in the rubber match today against RHP Mike Fiers (1-0, 1.29). J-Mick has become the Pirate ace with a string of strong outings and is coming off an eight inning blanking of Cincy. He posted a 1.54 ERA in five starts last month and hasn't surrendered more than three runs in any of his first 10 starts. The 26 year old rookie Fiers (he pitched two innings in 2011) makes his second start of the season in place of the injured Marco Estrada. On Tuesday he held LA to a run on five hits in seven innings to become the first Brewer to win his big-league starting debut since Yovani Gallardo in 2007. The game begins at 2:10 and will be shown on Root Sports.

The lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Matt Hague 1B, Casey McGehee 3B, Rod Barajas C, Clint Barmes SS, James McDonald P.

El Toro (.194) has the day off, against a righty yet, with McGehee (.186 and in a 2-for-21 slump) taking over at the hot corner. What happened to Josh Harrison lately? Barmes is back at short. On the other side of the coin, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez are out of the Brewer lineup, too. They sure don't have the firepower they started the year with, especially with C Jonathan Lucroy and SS Alex Gonzalez on the DL.

  • Pedro Alvarez is in an 0-for-18 funk, his BA has dropped below the Mendoza line and he sports a 34% whiff rate. The media was told that he's being given the Clint Hurdle remedy, a couple of days off to get it together. With an 0-fer last night, Clint Barmes has 12 straight at-bats without a knock and is hitting .167 on the season. They've already given him time off to tinker with his swing.
  • A win today would give the Pirates three consecutive series wins for the first time since July of 2011 and their first series win in Milwaukee since 2010.
  • Jeff Karstens will get his fourth rehab start on Wednesday at Indy, looking to hit the 100 pitch mark. Because of that schedule, it looks like Brad Lincoln will get a pair of starts before JK returns, on Tuesday against the Reds and Sunday against the Royals.

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