Friday, September 21, 2012

Lineup, Notes, News @ Houston

The Pirates send LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 5.49 ERA) for another start against Houston RHP Edgar Gonzalez (2-1, 4.40). Locke is still trying to find his way, looking for his first win in his eighth MLB start. Gonzalez is a journeyman in his ninth MLB season and fourth team with just 44 starts under his belt. He held the Bucs to a run on five hits in his first Astro outing in early September, beating Locke 5-1. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 at Minute Maid Park and will be shown on Root Sports.

The lineup: Starling Marte LF, Clint Barmes SS, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Mike McKenry C, Brock Holt 2B, Jeff Locke P.

Barmes moves up to the two hole with The Kid being a late scratch after a three hour plane ride, and we like it. He's been raking the past couple of months, and young Brock has cooled down, so he deserves the shot at the top of the lineup.

  • The batting title will be a fair race again; Melky Cabrera reached an agreement that MLB and the Player's Association signed off on to forego this year's BA chase after his PED suspension. Right now, Cutch is four points ahead of Buster Posey.
  • The Pirates have gone 11-3 against the Astros this season.
  • Joel Hanrahan has the third-longest active save streak in MLB, converting 16 consecutive save opportunities since July 4th.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Neal Huntington's job isn't safe.
  • Alex Remington of Fangraphs has a post on "Why The Pirates Always Limp To The Finish." His take is that it's a combination of deadline sell-offs and lack of minor league depth, which takes it toll in the dog days as players wear down.
  • Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects reminds us in his article that it's the pitching, stupid.
  • If you're counting, the Bucs are 5-1/2 games out of a wildcard spot; the bigger question is what side of the .500 line they'll finish on.

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