The Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 1.35 ERA) will spend his weenie roast at PNC Park on the bump with RHP Kevin Correia (4-6, 4.32). Kuechel is an offspeed guy making his fourth start, and he's been pretty effective over his first three outings, giving up just one earned run in each. KC has been holding up his back end of the rotation, though his last start was a clunker. The game begins at 1:35 and will be aired on Root Sports.
The lineup: Drew Sutton LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Casey McGehee 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Mike McKenry C, Clint Barmes SS, Kevin Correia P. (Geez! Third day in a row that Clint's switched the lineup after posting it. This is just a minor change: McGehee will bat 4th and Jones 5th.)
Pedro's in; Presley's out for tests and Hot Rod always sits when a day game follows a night. Clint Hurdle's keeping the hot bats in play, as he should. We expect Cutch will roam gap-to-gap today without any traffic to avoid, at least until Gorkys Hernandez enters as a defensive sub later. And it will be interesting to see the lefty matchup results with Jones at cleanup, who Hurdle has protected pretty well this season from southpaws.
- The Pirates start the day tied for first with the Reds in the NL Central. Old Bucco backup IF Luis Cruz doubled in the lead run and stole home to lead LA to a win over Cincy and Johnny Cueto.
- Andrew McCutchen enters today’s action leading the NL with a .360 batting BA. He also leads the circuit in RISP average (.406) and shares the league lead in total bases (177). He's been smokin' hot for quite a while. In his past 47 games, McCutch is batting .385 and slugging .709 with 14 homers and 43 RBIs.
- The Pirates are testing Alex Presley, who left yesterday's game with concussion-like symptoms. He may end up a candidate for the 7-day concussion DL, ala Ryan Doumit in 2011.
- David Schoenfield of The Sweet Spot blog led off with a short yell-out lauding Drew Sutton and Cutch. Sutton's ninth inning homer was the Bucs' second walkoff HR of the season (Rod Barajas had the other on 5/8) and 20th in twelve seasons at PNC Park.
- West Virginia IF Alen Hanson hit his 14th homer of the year, tops in the Pirate minor league system.
- Agent Rob Plummer threw his two cents worth in, posting a couple of comments about the Miguel Sano situation as written up by Dejan Kovacevic of the Tribune Review. He said the Twins were the only team to match what he asked for; the other clubs, including Pittsburgh, thought that they were bidding against themselves. Sounds like both sides were a little too cute for one another.
- Xavier Paul has opted out of his contract with the Nats for free agency. He's spent the entire season with AAA Syracuse after hitting .255 as a reserve OF'er for the Bucs and Dodgers in 2011.
- Happy B-Day to Jared Hughes, who turns 27 today. It's also the anniversary of the late Sunshine Superman Chuck Tanner's birthday. He'd be 84 today.