Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Locke v Miley, Lineup, The Long Ball

Wade Miley (3-6, 4.78) takes on Jeff Locke (1-1, 3.74) in a battle of the lefties tonight.

Locke has gone 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in his first five starts since being called up. He's left three of the games with a lead only to be the victim of a blown save. Jeff has a decidedly more edgy approach this year, pounding the inside and working the black instead of nibbling, and it's paid off. He's faced Arizona once, and was chased before three innings were up last year, so let's hope that's out of his system.

Miley has had his problems, going eight straight starts without a win. His woes are the same as the Buc pitchers have suffered through on occasion: too many walks and too many pitches up in the zone. Add in the pressure of suddenly being thought of as the team ace after Patrick Corbin went down early with a blown-out elbow, and you have a guy who's having a hard time firing his cylinders in sync right now. But Pittsburgh might be the right team for him to find his missing mojo, as Miley is 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates.

The Diamondbacks have a pretty poor team ERA of 4.36, but they have allowed three or fewer runs in five of their last 10 games and are playing .500 ball of late. The Bucs finished the month of June fifth in wOBA, hitting .335; Arizona finished a notch higher with a .336 average.  They're starting to come around, and hopefully the Bucs won't sleep on them. These are the series they have to take to climb back into the mix.

The lineup: Josh Harrison RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Russ Martin C, Jordy Mercer SS, Pedro 3B, Neil Walker 2B and Jeff Locke. Gregory Polanco is getting a scheduled day off, and it's good to see Russ back in the saddle.

The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

  • Cutch brings an eight-game hitting streak into tonight's game. Although not considered a slugger, Andrew currently ranks 15th on the Pirates all-time home run list with 115. Dick Stuart and Andy Van Slyke are tied for 13th with 117 apiece, and Richie Hebner is 12th with 128. He's ahead of Pedro, whose next long ball will be number #100, which would tie him with Garrett Jones.
  • Ex-Bucs: Steve Pearce has five homers in June. He didn't have more than four HR in any one MLB season before now.

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