Locke's biggest improvement from last season to this has been his attitude; he no longers nibbles away at the outside corner, getting deep into counts and walking an ungodly number of batters. In his 20-1/3 2014 frames, he's issued just one free pass and works the inside half like a man on a mission. He's had mixed success against the Reds, with two strong starts and one bomb last year. This will be the first Cincy meeting of the season for him.
Homer Bailey has been workmanlike lately for the Reds after a very slow start. He's 8-5 with a 3.20 ERA and a pair of shutouts against Pittsburgh in his career, including a 2012 no-hitter.
The lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Josh Harrison 2B, Pedro 3B, Clint Barmes SS, Chris Stewart C and Locke P. Typical get-away day lineup, with Gaby getting a chance to start against a RHP.
The game will be aired by the MLB Network, Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan, begging at 12:35.
- Last night Russell Martin was hit by a pitch for the ninth time this season, which ranks second in the NL behind teammate Neil Walker’s league-leading 11 plunks. As a team, the Bucs have been hit a MLB-tops 43 times.
- Pittsburgh's troubles begin in its own back yard. The Pirates are 10-21 against Cincinnati (2-7), Milwaukee (3-10) and St. Louis (5-4), the teams they need to beat in the Central.
- Gregory Polanco (eight games) and Starling Marte (nine games) are carrying long hitting streaks into this afternoon's match.
- The Bucs are facing their first home sweeping of the season today.
- Gerritt Cole can come off the DL today. There are no plans to activate him, but he could be slipped into action during the upcoming six-game road trip.
- Clayton Kershaw tossed a 15 K no-hitter last night against the Rox; it missed being perfect due to a Hanley Ramirez throwing error in the seventh.