Saturday, May 18, 2013

AJ v Erik Bedard

AJ Burnett (3-4, 2.73) takes the bump against Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.67) tonight. AJ's W/L record may not show it, but he's been strong lately, going seven innings in each of his last three outings. Bedard allowed two runs on four hits against Texas in his last outing in 5+ innings, and with 31 K in 27 IP, the lefty still has his swing-and-miss stuff. Should be interesting: A.J. Burnett, the NL leader with 72 strikeouts, will face an Astros team that has fanned a league high 417 times.

The game starts at 7:05 and will be shown on Root Sports and The Fan 93.7. It's an AJ bobblehead night, so the seats should be pretty well filled again.

Pirate lineup: Starling Marte LF, Jose Tabata RF, Andrew McCutchen CF,Gaby Sanchez 1B, Russell Martin C, Brandon Inge 3B, Neil Walker 2B, Jordy Mercer SS and AJ Burnett P.

We're pleasantly surprised that Mercer is being given a little PT this time around; JT, Gaby and Inge are starting against a LHP, with Travis Snider, Garrett Jones and Pedro taking ten. The Kid has had a rough time against lefties (.185); he's batting seventh tonight. The heavily platooned Bucs have a line of .224/.288./.361 with 3.3 runs per game against southpaws, and .254/.323/.411 v righties, scoring 4.4 times per game.

Astro lineup: Robbie Grossman CF, Trevor Crowe LF, Jose Altuve 2B, Jason Castro C, Chris Carter RF, Carlos Pena 1B, Matt Dominguez 3B, Marwin Gonzalez SS and Erik Bedard P.

Altuve, their primo player, is back after being on bereavement leave. Castro and Pena are the only true lefty position players among the starters, although Houston sports three switch hitters in Grossman, Crowe and Gonzalez.

  • One part of the plan the FO has stuck to is bringing power arms to a Pirate staff that prior to their arrival was a soft-tossing bunch. Now, the team is second in punch outs in the NL with an average 8.39 whiffs per nine.
  • Pirate pitching is third in the NL with a 3.43 ERA (3.94 FIP).
  • The Bucs won't land DFA'ed SS Reid Brignac, who they were reportedly interested in. He was sold to the Yankees by the Rox for $75,000, so we're guessing the Pirate attraction wasn't all that great.

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