Friday, April 26, 2013

Bucs v Cards

Well, it's like Groundhog Day - Jonathan Sanchez climbs the hill for the Bucs again tonight. He'll square off against Lance Lynn.

The Pirate retread lefty is 0-2 with an 11.12 ERA, which testifies to how his season has gone so far. Justin Wilson and Tony Watson each spun a pair of innings yesterday, and the Buc bullpen could use a breather that's unlikely to happen tonight. But Sanchez has never lost to the Cardinals and is 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA in six games versus them, five of them starts. Lynn is 3-0/3.68, but in Pittsburgh, the Steel City squad scored four times off him in five frames earlier this month, so add those up and there is some hope.

The game begins at 8:15 and will be aired by Root Sports and The Fan 93.7.

Pirate lineup: Starling Marte LF, Travis Snider RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Russell Martin C, Clint Barmes SS and Jonathan Sanchez P.

Cardinal lineup: Matt Carpenter 2B, Carlos Beltran RF, Matt Holliday LF, Allen Craig 1B, Yadier Molina  C, David Freese 3B, Jon Jay CF, Pete Kozma SS and Lance Lynn P.

Matt Adams missed the last series with an oblique issue and is day-to-day has just been placed on the 15 day DL.

The Central Division is a logjam of hot teams right now (last 10 games: Brewers 9-1, Bucs and Cards 7-3, Reds 6-4). These early intra-divisional series are a little more important as far as staying in the hunt instead of trying to chase teams down later in the year. Going into today, the top four teams are separated by 1-1/2 games..

  • The Pirates are on their third three-game winning streak of the young season. They've won five of the last seven games played at Busch Stadium. On the other side of the pillow, the Cards have just won 5-of-7 and are coming off a sweep of Washington.
  • Francisco Liriano went five frames for Indy yesterday, giving up a run on four hits with 8 K - and no walks. He tossed 79 pitches in the 5-1 Tribe victory. 
  • Newly promoted Jose Contreras will pitch back-back days for Indy, take two days off and then could be ready to join Pirates on May 1st May 3rd. He added that he's going to pitch Sunday and Monday.
  • The borderline position players are off to a good starts - Alex Presley is hitting .361, Jordy Mercer .329 and Josh Harrison .308. Harrison has temporarily bumped Ivan DeJesus (.259) to the bench by getting some time at 2B. Tony Sanchez is picking it up, with a .260 BA and 2 HR. Off to icy openings are Jerry Sands (.154 - 0 HR) and Felix Pie (.145 - 0 HR).
  • OF Josh Bell made Ben Badler's Baseball America Prospects Notebook.

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