The Padres begin a seven-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Atlanta tonight to open their brief eastern Wild Card tour. The Bucs better not be caught napping on the Friars. San Diego has won nine straight games at PNC Park, with their last loss in Pittsburgh back on Sept. 18th, 2009. And like everyone else the Bucs have faced lately, they're hot. The Padres are have collected four straight wins and five of six coming into town.
The lineup: Starling Marte LF, Travis Snider RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Rod Barajas C, Clint Barmes SS, James McDonald P.
Hot Rod is catching tonight, and he'll start tomorrow with AJ, so he's surviving The Fort's challenge quite well. And no, there's no big split in McDonald's case to favor either guy; the results with J-Mick are about the same for both finger-waggers.
- Starling Marte has a current five game hitting streak and Michael McKenry extended his career-high streak to nine games on Thursday.
- A little slow out of the gate: James McDonald has allowed nine first-inning runs in his last five starts. For the season he has allowed a total of 20 first-inning runs, including seven home runs.
- Clint Hurdle told the media that the management was uncertain if KC would get another spot start during this 20-games-in-a-row stretch. They better decide what the plan is and how to carry it out. Rostering six starters is already a drag on the pen.
- Juan Cruz made his second rehab appearance at Altoona, giving up one hit and striking out one in one inning.
- LHP Justin Wilson threw a rain shortened 8-inning no hitter for Indy last night, giving up a walk and fanning five, to become the first International League pitcher to be a part of two no-hitters in a single season since 1946 (Wilson tossed the front 7-1/3 innings of a combo no-no in April). He was supposed to go to the pen short-term, but got the start probably because Jeff Locke's call up left a hole in the Tribe rotation.
- West Virginia's two budding stars, OF Gregory Polanco (ankle) and SS Alen Hanson (hip), were hurt in yesterday's game. The injuries will be evaluated today.
- Sunday’s ESPN “Outside the Lines” program will feature the links between Roberto Clemente and the Walkers, Neil & father Tom. The show is on a 9AM Sunday, so set the TV tape if that's your morning of rest.
- Tony DeMarco of NBC Sports looks at which teams have the playoff edge during the stretch run. He writes "The Buccos are everybody's sentimental favorite to reach the playoffs. The good news is there's nothing schedule-wise that should hold them back."
- The league announced that the playoffs, beginning with the wild card games, will start October 5th and the playoff series will begin the next day.