Monday, April 20, 2015

Pirates v Cubs: Kang Starting for Bruised Jordy, Notes & Lineup

We get to see the new look Cubs for the next four days.They're breaking in some nice offensive talent with more in the pipeline, have a decent rotation, and not too surprisingly for a team with young legs, are tied for the NL lead in stolen bases. They may not be there yet, but they're not far from contending. Face it; you can't stand still in the NL Central.

Today's Game: AJ faces Jake Arietta. Burnett has been better than advertised in the early slog with a strong K rate and looks to be on the rebound from a forgettable 2014. Arietta broke out last year, a wild child who is now keeping the ball down in the zone and getting rewarded with a ton of swings-and-misses to go with a gaggle of grounders. The game starts at 7:05 with coverage on 93.7 The Fan; the Penguins preempted the Bucs on Root Sports. Off-and-on showers are expected, so it may be just as well that the game isn't on the tube, unless you like Bucco "Top Ten" reruns.

The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Starling Marte LF, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jung Ho Kang SS, Burnett P.

Same ol' same ol' except that Kang has taken Jordy's spot tonite; it may be a couple of days before Mercer's bruise becomes manageable.

Jung Ho Kang gets his chance (photo:
  • Pittsburgh starters have a 2.06 ERA in the last seven games. This season, the rotation ranks fourth in the NL in ERA (3.07) and strikeouts (72). They're holding opposing batters to .216 average, which is the second-lowest mark in the league.
  • Tony Watson has been called on eight times and Jared Hughes has appeared in seven of the Bucs first 12 games. Clint may want to share the wealth, especially when he's up by three runs.
  • The Bucs have yet to see a LHP start against them; that should end tomorrow when Travis Wood is slated to pitch for the Cubs.
  • A couple of notes we didn't squeeze in yesterday: First, not only did Pedro homer, but the wind took another away from him as he flew out while it blew in, sending Geraldo Parra crashing into the fence 398' away. Next, Gerrit Cole tossed a lot of off speed stuff early in yesterday's game, and had some control problems. He went almost exclusively to his bread & butter fast ball from the third inning on, and faced just 12 Brewers as he located up and down, sitting between 95-98. With the win, Cole, for trivial stat fans, became the first Pirate pitcher since John Candelaria to have two winning streaks of at least six games prior to his 25th birthday.
  • BTW, the Cards swept the Reds over the weekend. 

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