Friday, July 11, 2014

Locke v Latos, Lineup, Central Dogfight, Slugging 3B, Swipe City & More...

Jeff Locke (2-1, 3.08) takes the bump opposed by Mat Latos (2-1, 2.41)

Locke has been tough since his June call up, and pitched a solid game in his last outing against the Phils, besting AJ 3-2. Pittsburgh is 5-1 in Jeff Locke’s last six starts since he was promoted from Indianapolis on June 8th. The lefty has been getting deep, too - he's gone seven or eight innings in four of his last five starts. He's 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA against the Reds in six career starts.

Latos is traditionally a strong pitcher. He just rejoined the staff in mid-June, out with bone chip surgery, knee ligament damage and arm soreness. Latos should be fresh and he's pitched well since his return, coming off a 4-2 win against the Brewers. He's 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA against the Bucs in 11 lifetime starts.

The lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison LF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Pedro 3B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Jordy Mercer SS and Locke P. Clint is giving Gaby a little work against a RHP.

The game starts at 7:10 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Fun times in the NL Central. Not only are the Bucs and Reds getting it on, but the Cardinals open a three-game series in Milwaukee today. Cincinnati has won seven out of 10 meetings with Pittsburgh, including two of three at Great American Ball Park in mid-April. Milwaukee and St. Louis are 3-3 so far this season, although the Brew Crew has lost nine of its last 10 games. Cincy has been playing well, winning six of their last eight games. Since June 1st, the Reds and Pirates have the two best records in the NL. Cincinnati is 24-14 while the Bucs are 23-14.
  • The NL's top two slugging third basemen face off this series. Pedro's 14 home runs are second-most for Senior Circuit 3B'men behind Cincy’s Todd Frazier, who has 16.
  • Expect a lot of attention on the baserunners in this series. The Bucs enter today ranked third among NL teams with 66 stolen bases for the season, and the Reds are second with 78.
  • The Reds have been hit hard by a recent rash of injuries. Joey Votto (knee) and Brandon Phillips (thumb) are both on the DL, and it's uncertain if Billy Hamilton will start against the Bucs or just be a bench player as he has tight hammies. Homer Bailey tweaked his knee, but isn't expected to miss a turn thanks to the ASG.
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today really likes the Pirate outfield.
  • Starling Marte went on the bereavement list Wednesday because of the death of his mother-in-law and won't be eligible to play again until at least Saturday. He could miss the Reds series.
  • Ashley Marshall of MiLB posts that all Nick Kingham needed was a new challenge as he slices through AAA ball.
  • The Baseball America Hotsheet lists West Virignia SS JaCoby Jones on top of the week's performers; on the other hand, Power C Reese McGuire is on the "not-so-hot" list.
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