Monday, July 7, 2014

Morton v Wainwright, Lineup w/o Polanco, Hot Streak, Pitching,

Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.30) will have his hands full tonight, going against Adam Wainwright (1-4, 1.89). Charlie had a strong outing last time he took the bump, but he's god-awful against the Birds. He's 2-10 with a 6.11 ERA in 15 career starts against St. Louis and hasn't beaten them since 2011. It doesn't help that his away ERA of 4.37 is two runs higher than his PNC mark of 2.13.

Coming off a four-hit, 7-2/3 inning shutout of the Giants, Wainwright now has the NL lead in ERA and is tied for the most wins. Though he's 10-5 against Pittsburgh lifetime, his ERA is an unsightly 4.40. But he's been money against the Bucs this year. He's 1-1 in two starts, but has given up just two runs on eight hits with 14 K in his 15 IP.

The lineup: Josh Harrison RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Pedro 3B, Jordy Mercer SS and Morton P. El Coffee's out, and we're not exactly sure why yet.

The game begins at 8:15 and will be aired on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Unlike their ugly record against the Brewers and Reds, the Bucs have held their own against St. Louis, going 5-4 in the first nine meetings. They're coming into town on a 12-of-15 roll, in second place in the NL Central and with five straight road series wins for the first time since 1982. After falling to eight games below .500 on May 20, the Pirates are 29-15, the MLB's best winning percentage from that time forward. Spoiler alert: The Bucs have dropped six of seven in St. Louis and were shut out twice in a three-game set there in April.
  • Gerrit Cole is the probable starter for Wednesday night's game at St. Louis, but that won't be confirmed until he goes through his scheduled between-game throwing session today.
  • Francisco Liriano is expected to make his first rehab start tonight with Indy against Lehigh Valley, as the Bucs determined that live action beats another sim game. 
  • Mark Simon of ESPN released his latest "hard hit" stats. Pirate pitchers give up the second fewest hard hit balls in MLB, nestling between the two LA staffs. Tony Watson is second among relievers with a ridiculous 4% hard-hit rate.
  • Some circles thought that the Bucs missed the boat on RHP Brandon McCarthy, who was traded to the Yankees, but his profile is of a guy that they'd target in the off season (when he'll be a free agent) that they can work with rather than someone who would immediately upgrade the Pirate rotation.
  • Jeff Samardzija was selected to the All-Star team, but he'll have to be a dugout observer - he was voted on the NKL squad, but traded to Oakland.

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