Vanimal is making his fourth start of the season after defeating the Mets 5-2 in his last outing on Thursday night He's pitched into the seventh inning in all three contests as a Pirate. We're not sure what the Bucs saw in him that the Twins didn't, but viva la difference. He's faced the D-Backs twice (both times with Philadelphia) and is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA against them.
McCarthy is a fastball (93 MPH)/curve guy. He has good strikeout and walk rates (19.7%/4.1%) and his ground ball rate of 55.6% is nice, too. On the other hand, opponents have a .338 BABIP against him and 20% of the fly balls he allows leave the yard. So he's due for some regression to the good, as the things he can control, he controls well (his FIP is 3.88) while sooner or later that ball-in-play and HR % should dip toward the norm.
We can hope that regression takes place sometime other than tonight; the righty is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in three outings against Pittsburgh. He's also one of the more-mentioned trade market offerings, with the Pirates sometimes cited as being in the mix, although they are likelier to go after him in the off season.
The lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2b, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Pedro 3B, Jordy Mercer SS and Worley P.
The game will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan, beginning at 7:05.
- Andrew McCutchen was named the NL Player of the Month for June yesterday, marking the third time in his career that he's won the award. Cutch batted .343 and drilled 12 doubles, eight home runs and had 25 RBI in 26 games last month.
- Good timing department: the Diamondbacks have a total of 10 runs in their past six games and are hitting only .217 in that stretch.
- The Pirates' record since May 2nd is 34-22 (.607), the best in baseball.
- Marc Normandin of Sports on Earth thinks the Pirates are a pitcher away from having a big second half of the season.