Saturday, August 16, 2014

Locke v Gonzalez, Lineup, Starling, Travis, Josh

Jeff Locke (4-3, 3.98 ERA) tackles southpaw Gio Gonzalez (6-9, 4.00) tonight.

Locke's hit another second-half funk; he hasn't allowed fewer than three runs in any of his five post-All Star starts, and his ERA has jumped from 2.89 to 3.98 in those 30 innings. In the 56 IP he had before the ASG, he walked six and surrendered just three homers, while in the 30 IP since July 20th he's walked 11 and given up eight homers. Jeff needs to fill the strike zone and work while ahead in the count to be effective, and has done the opposite lately.

He's only had one start against the Nats, a no-decision in 2013.

Gio's ERA hasn't recovered from a three-game beat down in June, though he has dropped it by nearly a run  in two months. But he hasn't been dominating of late - he still gets plenty of whiffs, to go with plenty of walks, and teams are starting to work him deeper into counts. As a result, he's only gotten past the sixth inning once since the All-Star break. Plate discipline and pesky at-bats leading to high pitch counts are hurting Gonzalez of late, and that's one thing the Pirates seem to do well.

In four career starts against Pittsburgh, Gio is 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA and 28 K in 24-2/3 IP.

The lineup: Josh Harrison SS, Gregory Polanco RF, Russ Martin C, Starling Marte CF, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Pedro 3B, Jayson Nix 2B, Travis Snider LF and Locke P. Three lefty hitters against the southpaw Gonzalez, Starling is batting cleanup, and The Kid and Jordy are out; with Cutch gone, Russ is the only up-the-middle starter left standing. The Bucs have picked up the slack pretty well at the plate, and hopefully the role guys like Travis, Ike, Gaby and company will keep chipping away.

The game begins at 7:05 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Starling Marte is hitting at a .360 clip with two doubles, a triple, home run and five RBI in his last seven games.
  • Travis Snider has gone 8-for-18 with three home runs and seven RBI in his last five games.
  • Since July 27, Josh Harrison has gone 31-for-81 (.383) with a Major League leading 16 extra-base hits (nine doubles, two triples, five home runs). The next closest players during the stretch have 11 extra base hits.

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