Saturday, May 2, 2015

Frankie Takes the Rubber v Cards; Notes & Lineup

Today's Game: Francisco Liriano (1-1, 2.22) takes on John Lackey (1-1, 4.21). Frankie has been sharp and is pitching with an extra days rest, which he's thrived on in the past. Liriano has also put up good numbers against the Cards, going 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in eight career starts against them. Lackey has been bitten by the big inning bug in his past two starts, a trend the Bucs hope to continue. It'll be just his third start in 13 years against Pittsburgh; he's 1-1/4.15 in his two previous outings. The game starts at 2:15 and will be on Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan and is MLB.com's Free Game.

Today's Lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison 3B, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Starling Marte LF, Pedro Alvarez 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS, Liriano P.

Frankie looks to even the series today (photo: Justin Aller/Getty Images)
It has all the trappings of a big game for this early in the season. Frankie is on the hill and Clint has all hands on deck, even Cutch with a sore knee and Cervelli catching a day-after-night game. It's pretty simple - the Bucs have to learn to take the close ones from the Cards or continue to eat their dust.

  • Elias Says: St. Louis's won their eighth straight over the Pirates in one-run games at Busch Stadium. That's the Cardinals' longest string of one-run wins at home against a division opponent since a 10-game streak against the Pirates from 1984 to 1986.
  • Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Pedro Alvarez leads all NL players with 37 home runs hit during day games and has continued that trend this year, hitting three of his four home runs in the sunlight.
  • Entering today’s action, the Pittsburgh pitching staff ranks second in the MLB in ERA (2.90), trailing (guess who) St. Louis at 2.36. One big reason is that the Pirates are keeping balls in the park. Bucco pitchers have gone nine straight games and 81 consecutive frames without giving up a homer.
  • Sean Rodriguez made the club because of his versatility off the pine. Not only has he gotten off to an unexpectedly hot start at the dish (.391 BA), but he's made 14 appearances at first base, three in right field, one at second base and one in left field this year. He and Jung-ho Kang have covered every spot except up the middle - C, P, CF - for Clint so far this campaign.
  • For Bucco history buffs, today marks the 1882 anniversary of Pittsburgh as a major league team when the Alleghenys whipped Cincinnati 10-9 in their American Association opener at Cincy's Bank Street Grounds. The Pirates don't count their history as beginning until five years later when the Alleghenys joined the NL, although the AA was considered the major leagues.
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