Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bucs v Boston One Mo' Time

Jeff Locke climbs the hill today as the Pirates visit Fort Myers' Jet Blue Park to take on the Red Sox and Clay Buchholz. It's the fifth meeting between the clubs already; they've split the series to date. The game starts at 1:35, and will be aired live by Root Sports and on delay by the MLB Network at 8 PM.

Lineup: Starling Marte CF, Alex Presley LF, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Garrett Jones 1B, Russell Martin C, Travis Snider RF, Clint Barmes SS and Jeff Locke P.

Cutch was scratched; he has the flu. Gaby Sanchez was down for sick day (officially because of an allergic reaction) recently, so maybe there's something sickly going around the clubhouse. Snider continues to get penciled in the seven hole, which is a lot more logical match for his tools than the two spot. Buchholz should provide a pretty strong challenge; he's 2-0 with an 0.68 ERA so far this spring.

Pitchers: Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, Vin Mazzaro and Mark Melancon.

Locke has had a workmanlike spring (2-1, 3.12 ERA) and is part of the roiling mix of guys looking to claim a back end rotation spot. So today is a big outing for the young lefty, who will face the Bosox A Team. Mazzaro is having a tough spring and is out of options while Watson has had mechanical and physical problems, leaving Melancon as the only sure shot to make the staff among the four hurlers today.

  • 1B/OF Brad Hawpe was given his release today. He told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review that "The game has gotten faster and I didn't catch up."
  • Mike Sanserino of the Post Gazette tweets that "Francisco Liriano will throw his third bullpen session of the spring tomorrow and estimates he is less than a month away." He also reports that Brandon Inge is out for at least the weekend with a sore wing. Bad time to be off, unless the FO is greasing the skids to slip him on the DL.
  • Pedro Alvarez explained his even demeanor to KDKA Sports by saying his goal is to "...keep that positive attitude and not show gives the opposition a sense of satisfaction. I think we’ll all live if I don’t slam a helmet or two or break a bat.” 
  • Thomas Belmont of Baseball Instinct has his list of the Pirates Top 21 Prospects.

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