The Pirates intend to stick to their six man rotation for one more round during their upcoming road trip and then settle back into a regular five man staff afterward. The Bucs play the Cards three times starting Friday, then San Diego. They'll have a scheduled off day on Thursday, the 23rd to square things away after twenty consecutive days of baseball with another free day on the 30th. If you're looking ahead, they have the first two Thursdays of September off and then close out by playing seventeen straight games.
The lineup: Starling Marte LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Mike McKenry C, Garrett Jones RF, Josh Harrison 3B, Jordy Mercer SS, Wandy Rodriguez P.
Josh and Jordy get the call against Kershaw, a lefty; Pedro and Clint Barmes sit down..
- Ah, that time of year: AJ Burnett called for a pre-game players only meeting. Probably about on time.
- Travis Snider felt some soreness returning to his hammy and left last night's game as precaution, as we guessed. Hopefully he didn't do anything to really aggravate the injury.
- Dejan Kovacevich of the Tribune Review points out that fans thought the Pirates were facing a soft spot in their schedule, but that was a mirage of sorts. Of their last four opponents, the Reds were17-3 before facing the Pirates, the Diamondbacks 11-4, the Padres 5-1 and the Dodgers 6-3.
- The Bucs have gone 34-12 when scoring the first run of game, something the club hasn’t done since last Monday. The opposing team has plated the first run in each of the last eight games, and Pittsburgh has lost five of their last six games.
- Clint Barmes is batting .235 since June. That ain't great, but it is more along the lines of what the Bucs could reasonably expect. He hasn't hit over .245 in a season since 2008 and topped that number only once since 2005. And they did get what they wanted up the middle. His UZR is 10.0, second in the league to Seattle's Brendan Ryan. Ronny Cedeno is hitting .284 for the Mets in 52 games, but has a -1.1 UZR.
- State College's teen phenom, RHP Luis Heredia, is featured in an article by Andrew Pentis in MiLB.com.
- This day in history: In 1947: Ralph Kiner hit consecutive home runs in his last two at bats in a 7-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Kiner would then hit home runs in his first two at bats in his next game, tying a record for consecutive home runs.
- Melky Cabrera of the Giants was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. He'll still be eligible for the batting title at .346 and if SF makes the playoffs, he can join them after four games.