In his last start Saturday v Milwaukee, Eddie scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings but had a no decision in a 1-0 loss. He's won eight of his last 10 decisions, and is 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break. Steady Eddie is making his 31st start of the year and has been a constant in the rotation, navigating through a couple of rough spots to put together a remarkably workmanlike campaign.
Volquez is 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA in six career starts, but hasn’t faced the Braves this year, winning his last outing against them in 2013 as a Padre. He has traditionally been solid against the Bravos, being charged with three earned runs or fewer in five of his six career starting assignments against Atlanta.
This was supposed to be Mike Minor's start, but an inflamed shoulder has put him on the shelf. David Hale gets the call as his replacement. Hale has five 2014 starts (2-0 with a 2.22 ERA as a starter) under his belt, but none since late June. He did work three innings/59 pitches against the Mets on the 20th, so he should be stretched out a bit. He's auditioning for a possible fifth starter spot in the Bravos 2015 rotation.
In two outings against the Pirates this year, both in relief, Hale has tossed 1-1/3 innings of scoreless ball with one walk.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Starling Marte LF, Ike Davis 1B, Jordy Mercer SS and Volquez P. The Kid's back and so is Russ.
The game begins at 7:10 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- The Race: Everybody lost yesterday. The Bucs remain a game ahead of San Francisco for home field in the wild card and 1-1/2 games behind St. Louis (one in the loss column) in the NL Central standings. The Cards are off today, so that 1/2 game will swing dependent on tonight's Pirate game. Milwaukee was eliminated completely from the post season picture with a 5-3 loss to the Reds.
- Josh, Starling Go Streakin': Josh Harrison enters today with a 12-game hitting streak, which is the third-longest active streak in the majors. Josh has hit safely in at least 10 straight games on three occasions this year, including a career-high 13 straight games. Starling Marte also extended his hitting streak to nine games.
- Muscle Man: Cutch hit the 128th homer of his career Wednesday night and is tied with Richie Hebner for 12th place on the club’s all-time home run list. Al Oliver is next on the list with 135 career homers.
- Staff Grounded: Tony Biengino of Fangraphs looks more at Bucco ground balls generally and Vanimal specifically.