Today marks the one-year anniversary of Matt Cain's perfecto against the Astros. But he's been up and mostly down this season as his command and location have been off; there's been hints that he's tipping his pitches, especially from the stretch. Whether that's so or not, hopefully the Pirate batting renaissance can continue against him and the Giant pen today. Cain pitched well in his last outing. He hasn't faced the Bucs since early last year when he one-hit them at AT&T.
The game will start at 7:05 - the storms, knock on wood, have mostly blown through though it's still plenty gray out - and will be aired on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
Pirate lineup: Starling Marte LF, Travis Snider RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Mike McKenry C, Jordy Mercer SS and Charlie Morton P.
Russell Martin gets a day off, and Mercer makes a second straight start at short after a three-hit game last night.
Giants lineup: Gregor Blanco CF, Brandon Crawford SS, Buster Posey C, Hunter Pence RF, Brandon Belt 1B, Andres Torres LF, Joaquin Arias 3B, Nick Noonan 2B and Matt Cain P.
With Sandoval and Scutaro out with injuries, the Giant attack is limited, although you couldn't tell that from last night's eight run, fifteen hit output.
- AJ Burnett has a right calf injury and will not make his next start. Jeff Locke will go Friday and Gerrit Cole Sunday; Saturday's starter to replace AJ is TBD. Whether Burnett's injury requires a trip to the DL isn't known yet.
- And no, we don't know the moves the Bucs made to clear a roster spot for Charlie Morton today on both the 40-man and active rosters. As of 4 o'clock, they were still sorting things out, probably complicated a bit by AJ's injury.
- Starling Marte (20) and Andrew McCutchen (15) are the only teammates in MLB who have stolen at least 15 bases apiece. The last set of Pittsburgh teammates to have at least 20 stolen bases apiece prior to the All-Star break was Andy Van Slyke (21) and Barry Bonds (20) in 1987.
- Last night, Marte became only Pirate leadoff hitter since 1916 to put together a four-hit, four-run, two-steal day.
- As David Manel of Bucs Dugout notes, the difference between Clint Barmes and Jordy Mercer at SS isn't very clear cut; one is superior defensively, the other offensively and the ensuing results are pretty much a wash. If you add up the runs saved and the runs created stats, Barmes is at 31 and Mercer 30.
- Pittsburgh collected its 10,000th baseball victory against the Giants. 236 were earned in the American Association, which the Bucs don't officially count for some reason even though the AA is recognized as an early MLB equivalent. Without those W, the total is at 9,764 and counting.
- Marco Scutero was diagnosed with mallet finger after being hit by a Tony Watson pitch. That's tendon damage that doesn't allow the finger to straighten. It's usually repaired by putting a pin in place, which takes 6-8 weeks to heal. Scutaro is going to try to get by with his pinkie wrapped in a soft cast; he may be back as soon as this weekend.
- Jeanmar Gomez will begin his rehab assignment today at Indy. He'll go four innings/60 pitches.
- Karen Price of the Post Gazette has a piece on Josh Bell, who is reestablishing his fast track status after being injured last season.
- Pirates Prospects has their updated Top Twenty Prospects list posted.