Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ground Chuck Looks For the Sweep v Joe Blanton

Charlie Morton (1-1, 1.74) faces Joe Blanton (1-10, 5.62) in the finale. The Pirates are going for a sweep, and given the pitching matchup, the smart money is in their favor. The Angels are kinda the anti-Bucs. They put their resources into sticks instead of pitching, and maybe that was the wrong investment.

Ground Chuck has had a pair of good starts since returning from TJ surgery, fueled by a heater that's been clocked at 95-96. He attributes the extra couple of ticks to having a rested arm. Veteran Blanton has struggled mightily, but has shown signs of coming out of it. He's struck out 11 twice in his last three starts, and went deep into the seventh in his latest outing.

The game begins at 3:35 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Pirate lineup: Starling Marte CF, Jordy Mercer SS, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Garrett Jones RF, Neil Walker 2B,  Gaby Sanchez 1B, Travis Snider LF, Tony Sanchez DH and Mike McKenry C.

Cutch has the day off; with tomorrow a scheduled off day, it's a nice break for him. Tony Sanchez starts at DH; we though that he'd catch and The Fort DH, but this works. Pedro is in the three-hole for the first time in his career, a nod to his hot stick. Clint has all his lefties in the lineup.

Angels lineup: Peter Bourjos CF, Mike Trout LF, Albert Pujols DH, Mark Trumbo 1B, Howie Kendrick 2B, Alberto Callaspo, 3B, Erick Aybar SS, Chris Iannetta C and JB Shuck RF.

Same lineup, different catcher.

  • Pedro now has a seven game hitting streak and a three-game homer streak, the longest of his career, with a day game coming up. Alvarez joined Willie Stargell, Brian Giles and Jason Bay as the only Pirates in the last 50 years with at least 18 HR and 50 RBI in teams first 75 games. That's pretty fair company.
  • Gaby Sanchez broke an 0-for-17 streak last night with a single and homer.
  • The Pirates are 8-3 in interleague play and 20-17 on the road, perhaps the most remarkable turnabout this season. They were 34-47 away from PNC in 2012.
  • Charlie Morton made his MLB debut at Angel Stadium in 2008 with the Braves, winning 9-4. It's the only time he's faced the Halos.
  • The reports are that Clint Barmes is handling his demotion professionally, and in fact has been spending extra time teaching Jordy Mercer some of the finer points of the position.
  • David Manel of Bucs Dugout has an interesting piece on how clutch performances by the Cards and Bucs - one with the bat, the other with arms - has propelled them to the 1-2 spot in the NL.
  • Wandy Rodriguez makes his first rehab start at Indy today. 
  • Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects notes that the Bucs have a dozen pitchers under contract that can hit 98+ on the radar gun. That's quite a turnaround from the pre-Huntington days.
  • Luis Heredia will make his first start of the year at Low Class A West Virginia. He's been held back in Pirate City both to improve his conditioning and to keep a cap on the innings he works.

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