Locke's coming off an impressive no-decision against Milwaukee that the Bucs later won; he was aggressive and throwing strikes. Hopefully, that will carry over tonight. He's won five of his last seven decisions, so even when he's nibbling, he's been good enough.
He hasn't faced Atlanta this year and overall, he's 1-0/4.41 against them. A little trivia: the lefty won his first MLB game against the Braves on 10/1/12 with a 2-1 victory over Paul Maholm at PNC Park.
The 23 year old Teheran broke out last year and is a tier removed from ace material. He lost his last four decisions, but only given up two earned runs in his past 15 innings, a victim of the Bravos inept offense. One thing to watch for is whether he's wearing down or not; he's worked 216 innings after setting a career high of 185 IP in 2013. This will be his first outing against Pittsburgh.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Travis Snider RF, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Clint Barmes 2B and Locke P. The Kid gets a day off; his bat has been AWOL
The game starts at 7:10 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- Elias Sez: Pirate pitching has given up eight runs in the last eight games, the lowest total for that stretch by a Bucco staff since 1968.
- Out? Who, Me? Cutch has reached base safely in 12 of his last 15 plate appearances and enters today with a league-leading .408 OBP.
- Banging 'Em Out: Josh Harrison brings an 11-game hitting streak into tonight's game. Starling Marte has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 game, and Russ Martin just had a 13-game hitting streak snapped.
- ESPN Stats: The Pirates are only team in MLB to have three position players with at least 5 Wins Above Replacement in Cutch, Russ & Josh.
- Lefty Ironmen: Tony Watson is now one of four Pirate lefthanders who has made at least 75 appearances in a season, joining Scott Sauerbeck (club record 78 in 2002; 75 in 2000), Rod Scurry (76 in 1982) and Damaso Marte (75 in 2006).
- Vanimal: Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs has some props for the pitch deception of Vance Worley.
- Marchin' In: Mark Simon of ESPN examines the Bucs march into the post-season.
- Exorcism? KDKA Radio has Sid Bream's thoughts on the clincher in Atlanta.
- Bucs & Birds: For the first time since 1979, the Pirates and Orioles will appear in the same postseason.