The lineup: Alex Presley CF, Jose Tabata RF, Garrett Jones 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Drew Sutton LF, Clint Barmes SS, Mike McKenry C, Erik Bedard P.
Cutch has the day off as expected after spraining his wrist. McKenry gets a second day behind the dish, so apparently Hot Rod isn't 100% yet. Walker is hitting cleanup to break up lefties Jones and Alvarez, same as when he hit fifth. The middle of the order all got bumped up a spot in McCutch's absence, and without him, the guys are going to have to step it up.
- One thing we like about this year's pitching: it seems like the game plans are being developed by the pitchers and catchers, within general guidelines provided by Ray Searage, and allow for the flexibility to change during the course of a contest. That's quite a difference from the Joe Kerrigan robo days when paralysis by analysis was the rage.
- Lotta props for bringing in AJ Burnett and Rod Barajas, too. It's the first time in this FO's era that outside guys brought in to help mentor the pups actually backed their lessons with performance on the field.
- And speaking of coaches, whatever happened to the get rid of hitting guy Gregg Ritchie crowd? The patience shown by the FO in May, partly because of their confidence that some guys would regress to their norm and partly because of market conditions, should make a little wheelin' and dealin' easier, or at least more focused, once the trade season kicks off in earnest.
- Brad Lincoln is on the fast track to replace Hanny when he gets eventually gets moved, either next month or during the off season. The big but; can he repeat over the grind of a season?
- Random June stats compiled by the Tribune Review's Dejan Kovacevic: Their 146 runs in June lead the majors. They hit 39 home runs in June, exactly triple the 13 they hit in April. Those 39 home runs tie the franchise record for June, set in 1975. They've homered eight games in a row, longest streak since 2008. Their 22-11 record since May 25 is best in the NL, fourth in the majors. They've won 11 of their past 14 games vs. the NL Central.
- The Pirates point out that Cutch is the only player in MLB with at least 15 HR, 50 RBI and 14 SBs.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe noted that "With the need for righthanded-hitting outfielders, some team (Dodgers, Indians, Pirates) would likely take the chance if the Angels picked up the majority of the $53 million remaining on Vernon Well's deal." He also thinks a lot of teams whiffed by letting Kevin Youkilis get away. Cafardo reported that trade talk for him by Pittsburgh "never got very far."
- Mea culpa. In our notes yesterday, we said that Pedro's grand salami was his first; it was his second. His first was bombed on July 20th, 2010 against the Milwaukee Brewers' Dave Bush.
- From John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times: "RHP Scott Patterson, a West Allegheny graduate, has notched his first three saves of the season in his last three outings for Seattle's Class AAA Tacoma farm club and has made six consecutive relief appearances. In 20 games this season, he is 1-3 with a 2.66 ERA." The 33 year old hails from Oakdale and pitched his college ball at West Virginia State, with four MLB appearances in 2008.