Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lineup, Game Notes, Rumor Mill

A.J. Burnett (10-2, 3.68) is on the bump against the Brewers RHP Yovanni Gallardo (7-6, 3.74) in this afternoon's deciding game of the series. The Bucs haven't lost a game that AJ's started since May 2nd. Gallardo has been strong in his last half dozen starts after a shaky beginning, and has won his last three Miller Park outings. The game begins at 2:10 and will be aired by Root Sports.

The lineup: Drew Sutton LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, casey McGehee 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Rod Barajas C, Jordy Mercer SS, AJ Burnett P.

Dang! A Jordy Mercer start. Burnett and Barajas are reunited this afternoon; they're the Bucco version of the Cisco Kid and Pancho.

  • Jayson Stark of ESPN tweets that the "Pirates are so serious about Justin Upton they're sending signals they could include Starling Marte in an Upton deal -- but not Cole or Taillon." No word on what the D-backs think of that, though. And we are a little curious about the "why" of Arizona's sudden urgency to move their building block. Nevertheless, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports says that the Bucs have a scout watching Upton now.
  • Nick Cafardi of the Boston Globe on the Bucs: Jon Lester "has been on Pittsburgh’s radar along with Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza (he adds Jason Vargas later). It doesn’t appear the Sox would deal unless they got exceptional value back, and it doesn’t appear the Pirates would part with pitching prospect Gerrit Cole, whom the Sox would want. The Pirates have (also) been searching for offense all season. They...hope Starling Marte can make a difference coming up from Triple A. Pittsburgh will likely keep pursuing a bat."
  • On "Baseball Tonight," ESPN's Buster Olney named four possible Ryan Dempster destinations: the Dodgers, Braves, Pirates, and Red Sox. Don't get too excited yet; Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago posts that there are ten team seriously in on Dempster, so Theo Epstein has quite a bidding war going on. 
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review reports that the Angels had a scout in Milwaukee last night to check out Kevin Correia.
  • Elias Sports Bureau on Cutch's unreal month: Andrew McCutchen is batting .447 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI over his last 28 games, becoming the first Major Leaguer with those kind of numbers in each of the Triple Crown categories over 28 games since Lance Berkman went .451-11-30 with the Astros early in the 2008 season. McCutchen is the first Pirates player to reach each of those levels over a stretch of 28 games since MLB began recording RBI back in 1920.
  • More Cutch stuff: He's the first player in the Majors this season to record 200 total bases with 203. The last Pirate to have at least 200 total bases by the team’s 87th game was Brian Giles with 205 in 2001.
  • The Pirates have 24 come-from-behind wins this season, which is tied for the third-most in the Majors behind the Yankees (29) and Marlins (25). Milwaukee also has 24 comeback wins, so this is one series that exemplifies the Yogi Berra adage of "It ain't over 'til it's over."
  • One thing Pirate hitters had better work on is getting the ball in play again. They've struck out 27 times in the two games since the break. It hasn't crimped their run production against Milwaukee, but all those wasted outs aren't a very good omen for continued production down the road.
  • Kevin Goldstein of ESPN/Baseball Prospectus featured Starling Marte in his article "Top 12 For '12." It's behind ESPN's subscriber wall.
  • It ain't all roses: Pitching hot shots Justin Wilson, Gerritt Cole and Jameson Taillon all got beat up last night in their minor league outings.
  • The silver lining: RHP Clay Holmes pitched one hit, shutout ball over five frames for State College with a pair of walks and a K. C Tony Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a 2b & HR plus 3 RBI for Indy. Breakout prospect OF Gregory Polanco stole two more bases for West Virginia, giving him 34 on the season.

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