Friday, August 29, 2014

Volquez v Leake, Lineup, Starling, Warm Fannies, Minor League/Ex-Bucs Report

Edinson Volquez (11-7, 3.56) opens the Cincy series against Mike Leake (10-11, 3.51).

Eddie has been worth his money this year, going 10-4 since mid-June and winning seven of his last eight decisions. His games haven't always been pretty, but in 20 of his 26 starts he's held the opponent to three earned runs or less.

Volquez is 0-2 against the Reds this year, pitching one strong game and getting chased early in the other after giving up eight runs in just 2-2/3 IP. He hasn't fared very well historically against his former club, going 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA in five career starts.

Leake can be tough when he keeps his two seamer, cutter and slider arsenal down in the zone, as he showed last outing when he went six shutout frames against the Cubs, but he's been erratic this season and the Pirates' patient approach should match well against him.

The Red righty is 5-0 in 11 starts against Pittsburgh since a 3-2 loss on May 5, 2012, although he got a no-decision in his only appearance this year, a game the Pirates eventually won 6-5. Overall, he's 6-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 18 career starts against the Bucs.

Pittsburgh is four games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central race and 2-1/2 games behind the Cards for the first wild card spot. The Pirates are two games behind the Giants and 1/2 game behind the Braves for the final qualifier with 29 games left. It should be a dogfight, with the Bucs *knock on wood* due to put together a nice winning streak, something they haven't been able to do all year.

The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Jose Tabata RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Starling Marte LF, Jordy Mercer SS and Volquez P. No word on how Pedro's sprained foot or Travis Snider's hammy are feeling today; and it could be another short bench game.

The game starts at 7:35 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Starling Marte has a six game hitting streak and is batting .379 with four doubles, a triple, four home runs and 10 RBI in his last 18 games. 
  • The Pirates have posted 15 sellouts this season and are expected to play in front of capacity crowds this entire weekend. Pittsburgh had a club-record 23 sellouts in 2013 during the regular season and will go over the two million mark in season attendance tonight in their 69th home date. That's the club’s earliest date for reaching that milestone number since 2001 (63rd date) and the sixth time in team history they will have topped two million.
  • Charlie Morton's Altoona outing: four innings, four hits, two runs, a walk, six K, six ground-outs on 73 pitches.
  • OF Austin Meadows got a mention in Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet.
  • 2B Dilson Herrera, 20, who the Bucs traded last year to the Mets for Marlon Byrd, was called up by NY from AA to fill in with Daniel Murphy injured. Herrera hit .333 with a .946 OPS in 274 PAs at Binghamton this season after being promoted from Hi-A ball.
  • Jason Grilli's got some interesting things to say in his Long Beach Press-Telegram interview with Robert Morales "Unwanted by the Pirates..."
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