Monday, September 2, 2013

Morton v Thornburg

Charlie Morton (6-3, 3.14) faces Tyler Thornburg (1-0, 1.94 ) in the Milwaukee Labor Day opener. Morton has been rock steady for the Bucs, going 5-1 in his last eight starts since the All-Star break. Thornburg is making his fourth start for the Brewers, replacing a not-too-effective Tom Gorzelanny in the rotation. He's been pretty strong in his 11 relief appearance and three starts, and the Brew Crew thinks he's worth a September look.

It's the start of a nine-game road trip for the Pirates, who also visit St. Louis and Texas, followed by an 11-game home stand as the horse race enters its final month. The game starts at 2:10 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Pirate lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Marlon Byrd RF, Justin Morneau 1B, Russ Martin C. Clint Barmes SS and Charlie Morton P.

Jones loses his first game to Morneau and Barmes is playing behind Ground Chuck.

Brewer lineup: Norichika Aoki RF, Jean Segura SS, Jonathan Lucroy C, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Scooter Gennett 2B, Caleb Gindl LF, Juan Francisco 1B, Logan Schafer CF and Tyler Thornburg P.

  • Marlon Byrd has a five game hitting streak as a Bucco.
  • According to Elias Sports Bureau, this is just the fifth time since 1969 that teams shared the NL Central lead on Labor Day morning.
  • Tyler Kepner of the New York Times wrote about "Pittsburgh's Stirring Leap from the Abyss."
  • PNC Park is the place where long flies go to die. The Bucs' 74 road HRs this season rank second among NL teams. Since the start of 2012, Pittsburgh's 177 road HRs lead all NL teams.
  • Jason Grilli worked another inning at Altoona, giving up a hit and striking out three.
  • Altoona OF Alex Dickerson was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year and also the Curve's team MVP. He's the second Altoona MVP. Starling Marte was the first in 2011.
  • West Virginia won the second half title in the South Atlantic league last night
  • Alex Presley went 3-for-4 with a run and RBI yesterday in his Twins debut as leadoff man and CF'er. Minnesota beat Texas 4-2 behind Kevin Correia (9-10, 4.18).
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports notes that the Cards have the easiest NL Central road down the stretch. The Redbirds face Cincy and Pirates this week, then the schedule turns soft. Excluding the Nats (69-67), they won't face a team with a winning record for the rest of the season. St. Louis' final 19 games come against teams with a combined .455 winning % with 12 of 19 at home. So the Bucs have to beat the teams they should this month, like the Padres, Brewers and Cubs, to keep the battle raging.

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