Vance has lost his last three decisions, and needs to come out of the chute ready to go, having surrendered 10 first & second inning runs in his last two starts (eight in the first frame alone).
He hasn't done very well against the Reds, going 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in four career games (three starts) against them. But Vanimal hasn't started against them since 2012, so that's not a lot of help. Cincy did jump him for two runs in two frames as a reliever this year, but given his recent spate of rough opening innings, that's not surprising.
After a brilliant first half, the Reds have lost all six of the games Simon has started post All-Star. His record is 0-5 with a 5.46 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and .317 BAA. Hopefully, the Bucs can chase him back into the bullpen where he has spent most of his career. Spoiler alert: he was sharp in his last outing against the Braves, so maybe a second wind is blowing behind him now.
He's beaten the Pirates twice this year without being overly impressive; in 13 IP, he's given up five runs (3.46 ERA) on nine hits and eight walks.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Andrew Lambo RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Starling Marte LF, Jordy Mercer SS and Worley P. No word on Pedro or Travis' injuries; probably one (or both) should be DL bound, though the expanding rosters make that unneccesary.
The game starts at 4:05 and will be on Fox Sports 1, Root Sports and KDKA 1020 AM.
- More Moves: Rob Biertempfel of the Trib reports that Brent Morel is in the house today, and that Jeff Locke, like Gerritt Cole yesterday, will be optioned in a paper move as the rosters expand Sunday; tho that's not been confirmed by the team yet..
- Bang for the Buc: Josh Harrison has drilled 25 extra base hits since the All-Star break. To compare, last year Pedro and Cutch led the team with 27 extra base hits following the break.
- Quietly clutch: Jose Tabata is hitting .353 with runners on base and .406 with RISP this season.
- Fitting right in: Andrew Lambo singled as a pinch hitter and scored the game-tying run while making his 2014 Pirate debut last night. Pittsburgh’s pinch hitters lead all MLB teams in hits (51), RBI (38) and runs scored (23) this season.
- Streakin': The Pirates have won 6-of-8; the Reds 4-of-6. For the Pirates, their winning ways have coincided with the starters posting a 2.42 ERA during those last eight contests.
- Heartbreak City: The Redlegs have suffered a MLB-leading 32 one-run defeats this season.