Friday, April 25, 2014

Lineup, Notes - Cutch, The Kid, Volquez, Platoons, Runs, Wandy, Polanco

Gerrit Cole (2-1, 3.67) opens the series against Shelby Miller (1-2, 3.57). Cole has faced the Redbirds once, coming away with a win last season. Miller is 0-5 lifetime against the Pirates; he hasn't lost more than once against any other team. But he has won 10 of 14 home decisions, and has held opponents to a .197 BA at Busch Stadium, so six of one, half dozen of the other...

The lineup:Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Cutch CF, Pedro 3B, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 31B, Travis Snider RF, Clint Barmes SS and Cole P.

This three game set is the final leg of a Pirate stretch of 26 straight games against NL Central foes in April. The Cards haven't been all that early in the season, either. The Redbirds have dropped six of nine and are coming off a 5-6 road trip.

The contest starts at 8:15 an will be aired by Root Sports, MLB Network and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Cutch is 8-for-13 in his last four games and 19-for-51 (.373) with five doubles, four homers and 10 RBI in his last 13 games dating back to April 12th. Neil Walker is hot, too, andd is now 8-for-22 (.364) in his last five games.
  • Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors writes of Edinson Volquez: "his strikeouts are down (5.1 K/9), (and) his BABIP (.233) and long ball rates (.32 HR/9) suggest some regression is coming."
  • Platooning to date: 1B) Davis/Gaby - .206 BA, .263 OBP; RF) Snider/Tabata - .230 BA, .287 OBP. The Gregory Polanco watch continues (and rest assured, a watch is all it will be until June) as JT especially struggles. The other three players at least have OPS above .700, so they've shown some patience and some power. JT's OPS is .519, and he's shown neither.
  • Interpret as you may: The Pirates have scored three or fewer runs 13 times this season, and are 2-11 in those games. Pirate pitching has held opponents to three or fewer runs 7 times, but the Bucs are just 4-3 in those games.
  • The Pirates have no timetable for Wandy's return. He won't begin throwing off a mound again until his knee is pain free, and it hasn't reached that point yet.
  • Hey - SI finally figured out that Gregory Polanco is the next big thing. Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet has a few words about him, too.
  • RHP Kyle McPherson, recovering from surgery last year, broke his throwing elbow. It will undergo the knife next week; now he's out until 2015.
  • MLB restored the transfer rule, which maintains a catch even if the fielder drops the ball while transferring it to his throwing hand, after modifying it to start the season.
  • Ex-Bucs: The Giants signed Travis Ishikawa to a minor league deal; ditto with the Padres who signed Brian Bixler to a minor league deal.

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