Locke had his four game win streak broken at St. Louis in his last outing when control issues (five walks in three frames) got him into hot water. It's a broken record, but when Jeff is aggressive, gets ahead in the count and paints the corners, he's a tough guy to go against, but he's often his own worst enemy by working around and off the dish. So we'll see how tonight's effort goes.
The good news is that he has matched up well in his few outings against Philadelphia as Locke is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three career starts. This year, he's allowed two runs (one earned) in eight innings while besting AJ Burnett in July at PNC Park 6-2.
Kendrick has been around for eight seasons. The last two haven't been real kind to him, but he is coming off a seven inning, three hit shutout versus the Braves. He's a free agent after the season, and is likely auditioning for a big league job somewhere else in 2015.
He hasn't faced the Pirates this year, and has a 4-2/3.86 slash lifetime against the Bucs in eight appearances (six starts).
The Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Brent Morel 3B and Locke P. Josh is still out and Andrew Lambo takes a seat for Travis.
The Pirates swept the Phils at PNC Park in July, but are butting heads with a hot club. Philadelphia has won nine of 13 and four straight at home, and they have won five of its last six series, all the series wins coming against teams that are above .500.
The game starts at 7:05 and will broadcast by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- Second To None: Neil Walker has collected at least 20 doubles and 10 home runs in each of the last five years. The only other second baseman in the Majors to accomplish that is Seattle’s Robinson Cano.
- All In A Row: Starling Marte brings a seven game hitting streak into today’s action.
- Pasture Power: Pittsburgh’s outfielders rank second in the NL this season in batting average (.280), third in OBP (.347) and fifth in slugging percentage (.435) and OPS (.782).
- Ernesto Goes: According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Pirates have released Ernesto Frieri. He is entering his second year of arbitration and is making $3.8M this season, so the odds were he wasn't going to be tendered in the off season anyway. He's an example of why GW blogs and doesn't GM - we thought Frieri was not going to be of much help in the short term but would be an asset in the long run. Well, maybe, but not for Pittsburgh.
- Walking Wounded: The Bucco injury saga continues. Pedro apparently will stay with the team instead of having his foot injury evaluated independently, while Josh is still day-to-day.
- Looking Ahead: The Pirates released their 2015 schedule today. It goes on; the Season Opener is April 6th v the Reds (Home Opener April 13th v the Tigers) and runs until October 4th, when the Bucs close a six-game stand against the Reds and Cards.