James McDonald (9-3, 2.37) takes the hill against the Brewers' Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.32). J-Mick was overpowering against the Giants Saturday. Greinke was ejected after four pitches on Saturday, then was bombed on Sunday, so the All-Star break gave him a good opportunity to clear his mind and get back on track. And for trivia fans, it also means he will have started three consecutive ball games, last done by the White Sox' Red Farber in 1917. Another little factoid; he's never lost a game at Miller Park.
It's just another aces duel for McDonald, who outgunned Ryan Vogelsong last outing. J-Mick enters tonight ranked third in the NL in ERA (2.37) and second in opponent batting average (.196). Even more cool, McDonald has lasted >7 innings eight times this year. Prior to this season, he hit the 7 inning mark just five times in his career. The game starts at 8:10 PM and will be aired on Root Sports.
The lineup: TBA
- Cutch's .362 BA gives him the MLB lead in hitting at the All-Star break, the first time for a Bucco since Matty Alou's .344 in 1968. We wish McCutch better luck; Alou came in second that season, finishing up at .332 and losing to Pete Rose, who hit .335.
- Neil Walker has a 12-game hitting streak, tied for the longest by a Pirate this season with Alex Presley's string from earlier in the year. The Kid leads all NL second basemen with a .356 OBP.
- James McDonald in the first Bucco pitcher with >100 Ks at the break since Ollie Perez had 117 in 2004.
- Alex Presley is due back from his whiplash injury for the Colorado series following Milwaukee. He's going to Indy first to play a rehab series.
- Pittsburgh’s bullpen has a MLB-low 2.59 ERA this season.
- The Pirates are scheduled to play 16 of their next 22 games on the road.
- Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs posted "Scouting Jameson Taillon." He has him pegged as an elite prospect but a #2 guy in the rotation.