Lots of excitement for other reasons, too. It's a five game set between the NL Central pacesetters with a twin bill tomorrow, but also right in the middle of all the festivities is the trade deadline, which ends Wednesday. It's a fan (and bloggers) perfect storm.
The game starts at 7:05 at will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
Pirate lineup: Jose Tabata RF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Garrett Jones 1B, Russ Martin C, Alex Presley LF, Clint Barmes SS and Francisco Liriano P.
Starling Marte is off after his 3-K misadventure yesterday, replaced by Alex Presley. Barmes is at SS as Clint Hurdle looks like he's gonna shuffle he and Jordy Mercer.
Cardinal lineup: Matt Carpenter 2B, Carlos Beltran RF, Matt Holliday LF, Allen Craig 1B, Yadier Molina C, David Freese 3B, Shane Robinson CF,. Pete Kozma SS and Jake Westbrook P.
The Cards come into town having dropped a three game set to the Bravos, going 20 innings without a run during one stretch against Atlanta. The Redbirds still are up 1-1/2 games on the Bucs. It's a big stretch for them. St. Louis goes to Cincy after the Pittsburgh series, then entertain the Dodgers when they return home.
- Sorta figured this was happening after yesterday: The Pirates have placed Mike McKenry on the 15-day DL with a left knee sprain. The team will recall Alex Presley from AAA (we're kinda taken aback that it wasn't Andrew Lambo, other than he's not on the 40-man roster), so Tony Sanchez will catch tomorrow at some point and Presley will take Travis Snider's spot.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes "With Jason Grilli injured, the Pirates are searching for a bullpen arm. They’ve also been looking for a right fielder. Rios and Pence remain of interest. It will be interesting to see whether David DeJesus, playing regularly for the Cubs after being out for more than a month, gets some play from the Pirates and other teams."
- Francisco Liriano is trying to become first Pirate to win 11 of his first 15 starts in a season since Dock Ellis in 1971.
- McKenry and Russ Martin have been the only two catchers the Pirates have used this year and are one of just three, along with Rod Barajas, to see action since last year. The only other team in MLB to use just three different catchers since the beginning of last year is Houston. Remember when they ran through eight guys in 2011?
- Gaby Sanchez talked about the college rivalry he and ex-teammate Randy Choate, now a Card reliever, shared in the Marlin locker room. Gaby played ball at Miami and Choate at Florida State.
- Ronny Cedeno was released by the Astros and is a FA.
- Alex Dickerson went 12-for-30 with four doubles, two homers and 13 RBI this week at Altoona, and for the second time in three weeks was named the Eastern League Player of the Week.
- SS Alen Hansen was promoted to AA Altoona.
- Another blah start from Luis Heredia. He went 4-2/3 frmaes for WV, giving up three runs on four hits with three walks and four K.