Monday, July 21, 2014

Volquez v Ryu, All RH Lineup, Trade Rumors, Hansen In Hot Water & More...

Edinson Volquez (8-6, 3.65) faces lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-5, 3.44) in the first game of the LA series.

Volquez is coming of a complete game win at St. Louis and has surrendered just three earned runs in his last four starts. He's won a career-high tying four straight decisions. Eddie is 3-3 with a 3.83 ERA in eight career starts against the Blue, and has a 5-3 win against Zach Greinke and LA so far this year.

Ryu is coming off a 1-0 win against the Padres, going six innings with 10 K. The southpaw primarily features a fastball and changeup combo, but has been adding in more curves and sliders to the mix, so his arsenal is pretty much loaded. He's 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA against Pittsburgh with a 12-2 win this season when Barandon Cumpton imploded at LA in late May.

The Bucs are catching LA at a good time. They played the national Sunday Night game, so had to catch a red-eye to out fair city. Zach Greinke's and Clayton Kershaw's turns will miss this series. Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez are banged up. Pittsburgh won three of the four games played earlier this season in Los Angeles and have gone 5-2 in their last seven games overall against the Dodgers. Hopefully, the Pirates can take advantage and keep the good times rolling. They're just 1-1/2 games behind top dogs St. Louis and Milwaukee, the closest the Pirates have been to the NL Central lead since April 10th.

The lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Jordy Mercer SS, Michael Martinez RF and Volquez P. Starling's back, El Coffee and El Toro get a blow after a diet of lefties. That's a little odd as Ryu has a pretty even split and isn't a lefty-killer.

The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Bucs are kicking the tires of back-end relievers Joaquin Benoit of the Padres and Joakim Soria of the Rangers.
  • Matt Kelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in the story that won't die, said the Pirates had a scout at AJ's last start. 
  • GM Neal Huntington has made the rounds of the local media, and his story has been pretty much the same - there are players available that could help us and we're willing to upgrade, but we have no glaring holes and have to weight current v future roster make-up. As usual (and smartly), NH is playing it close to the vest.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rox set was first time that the Pirates swept a series of three or more games with a different reliever earning the victory in each game since June 1978, when Ed Whitson, Grant Jackson and Kent Tekulve were credited with wins out of the bullpen in a three-game sweep of the Padres at TRS.
  • Gerrit Cole threw 35-40 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday morning. So far, so good.
  • Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror reports that hot SS prospect Alen Hanson has been sat down by the Curve for the second time this season because of "several lack of hustle incidents," the latest being a pop he didn't run out.
  • After tossing a one-hitter, Altoona's Adrian Sampson was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week.
  • Dejan Kovacevic has resigned from the Tribune Review and gone over to the dark side of blogdom, albeit of the upscale variety. His new page will be called "DK on Pittsburgh Sports," a corporate-sponsored, subscription-based web site; no details yet.

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