This is the start of a big stretch for the Blue, which tackle the two teams ahead of them in the wild card seven times in a row, with four here and three at Atlanta.
The lineup: Starling Marte LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Mike McKenry C, Clint Barmes SS, Jeff Karstens P.
Travis Snider is on the bench with hammy tightness, available for just PH duty. Wonder why they didn't take him out yesterday for a runner after he drew a pinch hit walk? Letting him run instead of J-Mick or for that matter, anyone, doesn't seem very forward looking.
- Pittsburgh's opponents have scored in the first inning in each of the last six games and have homered in four straight.
- Scoreboard watching: The Bucs are 4-1/2 behind the Reds in the division race, 2 games behind Atlanta for the top wild card position and 2-1/2 games ahead of St. Louis and Los Angeles for the second wildcard spot. The Bucs open a four game stand against LA tonight and visit St. Louis immediately afterward, meeting the Cards again at PNC July 27-30th. Now it's getting interesting...
- Justin Wilson will go to the bullpen at Indy, GM Neal Huntington said yesterday. He's on the 40 man, so the Bucs are setting him up for a September call as a reliever. But in the long-term, the FO still sees him as a starter.
- For those on the JT watch, Jose Tabata went 3-for-5 at Indy last night and is hitting .314 in AAA.
- Speaking of Indy, the Tribe is in first place and has a magic number of 12 to clinch a division title. At 74-49, they have a ten game lead over runnerup Columbus.
- Bradenton LHP Eliecer Navarro went seven shutout frames, giving up three hits and a walk with four K in a 3-0 win.
- SS Gustavo Nunez, the Rule 5 draft pick from Detroit, began his rehab assignment with GCL Pirates today, going 1-for-2.