Jeff has been inconsistent, to put it mildly, in the second half. But while he makes you tear at your hair, he's also won five of his last seven decisions, including wins in three of his last four outings at PNC Park. So hopefully he finds the black tonight.
Locke is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts this season against the Brew Crew, both against Gallardo. He won an 8-3 decision at Miller Park on 8/22 and lost a 1-0 decision on 6/8 at PNC Park. So he's used to the matchup and held his own so far this year.
Gallardo is 0-4 in his last four starts, so maybe his tank is running a little low in the dog days. Yavoni did toss pretty well against the Reds in his last outing, leaving with a 2-1 deficit, but his pen blew up and the final finished 5-1. He's been erratic since the AS break, with seven starts yielding two or fewer runs while he was touched up for four or more runs in the other six games.
He's split two games with Locke already this year, following the same pattern, a beauty one night, a bomb the next time out. But overall in his career, he's 12-5 against the Bucs with a 2.67 ERA, so the odds favor a good performance in the opener of a huge series.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Travis Snider RF, Gaby Sanchez 1b, Jordy Mercer SS and Locke P.
The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- The Playoff Push: Going into tonight, the Pirates are two games behind in the loss column to the Cards in the NL Central and the Giants for the home wildcard. They're four games ahead in the loss column against the Brewers and six ahead of the Braves with 10 games to go.
- The Josh Watch: Josh Harrison enters tonight’s action ranked first among all NL hitters with a .319 BA, two points ahead of Justin Morneau (.317)...Teammate Andrew McCutchen ranks fifth in the league with a .308 average
- Finally Five? This will be the Pirates eighth try a winning five in a row. This would be a good time to get it, hey?
- On A Roll: The Pirates have won four games in a row and seven of their last eight. They've gone 11-2 in their last 13 games and are a season-high 12 games over .500.
- Clint: Colin Dunlap of The Fan has a piece on a guy that's really fighting through the pain, skipper Clint Hurdle. It's an excellent read.
- El Toro: John Tomase of the Boston Herald wrote that the Red Sox will be "kicking the tires" of Pedro Alvarez during the off season.