Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pre-Game: Starters, Game 1 Lineup, Wandy, In Trouble?, Hanny, Wei-Chung Wang

Charlie Morton will start the 4:05 PM game against Bud Norris while Brandon Cumpton will start the nightcap against Chris Tillman, scheduled 20-30 minutes after the opener concludes. (Spoiler alert: some of the next two paragraphs are from Tuesday's pre-game; why waste material, lol?)

Morton is still struggling to find his 2013 groove, and hasn't won an interleague game since 2008. Norris has seen the Bucs plenty from his Astro days, with a 4-5 record and 3.48 ERA to go with 71 K in 62 IP.

Lineup: Jose Tabata RF, Ike Davis 1B, Cutch CF, Pedro 3B, Gaby Sanchez DH, Neil Walker 2B, Starling Marte LF, Tony Sanchez C and Jordy Mercer SS. Dropping Marte in the order caused quite a mash up in the lineup. Ike is hitting second instead of Walker, possibly in an effort to jump start him by having Cutch covering his back. We're a little surprised Gaby got the DH call against a RHP instead of Travis Snider, tho Clint may be keeping him up his sleeve for a late inning PH role.

In game two, Cumpton has been the cavalry to the rescue when the Bucco rotation blows a tire. He's 2-2 with a 2.12 ERA and .956 WHIP as Pittsburgh's thumb in the dike over the past two seasons. Tillman has been pretty steady for the Birds. He's a fastball guy who will flip to offspeed when he has command issues. Tillman is also a homer; he's posted an 0.69 ERA at Camden yards this year.

Lineup: TBD

Both games will be broadcast on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • This is the first time the Pirates have lost back-to-back games to the weather since 2007, and the first time the Orioles were postponed at home on consecutive days since the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
  • The Pirates have scored two runs or fewer in six of their past eight games. 
  • The Orioles reinstated 3B Manny Machado from the 15-day DL. 
  • Wandy Rodriguez made a rehab start with Altoona today. Wandy has been on the disabled list since April 21 with knee inflammation. If all goes well there, he could be reinstated to the active list in short order. However, his line was 74 pitches (48 strikes) in 3-1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, and that was after a 1-2-3, 11 pitch first frame, so we'll see.
  • Scott Allen of the Outside Corner thinks the Bucs are one of five teams that are in trouble this season. Pittsburgh is in some pretty good company, tho.
  • Ex-Bucs: The market for Joel Hanrahan, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, includes the Tigers, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox and Rockies per Jon Heyman of CBS'  Baseball Insider. The Brewers are debating whether or not to return Rule 5 draft pick Wei-Chung Wang to Pittsburgh, per Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel.

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