Cole is back from a June 4th trip to the DL with a fatigued arm; we're sure the Bucs will monitor his workload for the rest of the season. He went 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his last four starts, and hopefully he jump right back on his game. At any rate, it'll be nice to have him back. One thing to watch for: The Mets have stolen one base in their last 13 games, but Cole has allowed 15 this season.
Niese, 27, has been putting up career numbers this year and hasn't given up more than three runs in any one of his 12 starts this season. His biggest weakness is lack of a strikeout pitch; he averages just 4.5 K/9, and that is perhaps a sign that some regression is due, along with his 3.51 FIP. His name will come up prominently when the trade season begins in earnest.
The lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Cutch CF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Josh Harrison LF, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro 3B, Chris Stewart C and Cole P. Man, we can't wait to see Starling back after Travis & Jordy moving to the two hole in his absence.
The game begins at 4:05 and will be aired on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- Ernesto Frieri reported to PNC today; he'll wear #29. As expected, Brandon Cumpton with his option was sent to Indy to clear a spot for Gerrit Cole. One horrible outing skewered his stats this year; he showed he belongs in the show, even if as a back-ender.
- Andrew McCutchen leads all MLB players with 19 extra-base hits during the month of June (11 doubles and eight home runs). The last Pittsburgh player with 19 extra-base hits in one month was Nate McLouth (April 2008) and the last Bucco with 20 in a month was Brian Giles (June 2001).
- Pedro has reached base safely in six straight plate appearances (four hits, one walk, one HBP). Ike Davis has reached base safely in 11 straight starts, going 9-for-37 (.243) with eight walks.
- The Bucco starting staff has gone 13-6 with a 3.17 ERA this month.
- It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over: The Pirates seven walkoff this season are the most by any team in the majors.
- Division On Fire: In June, all five NL Central teams are among the Top Ten in winning percentage: Brewers, .654; Reds & Pirates, .640; Cardinals & Cubs, .560. The Bucs have won six of their last seven games and seven of their last nine.
- The Pirates and Mets will pay tribute to the Negro Leagues by donning local Negro League uniforms today, with the Pirates honoring the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Mets the Brooklyn Royal Giants.