Sunday, May 3, 2015

Vanimal Out to Avoid Sweep, Lineup (Kang & Stew In), Notes

Today's Game: Vance Worley (2-2, 4.50) toes the rubber against Michael Wacha (4-0, 2.42). Vanimal has had some command issues lately, and like the rest of the staff could use some runs. The Pirates have been shut out in both of his losses. Worley has a 4.96 ERA in three career starts against St. Louis, with no decisions, and also has a big home-away split early on, being much sharper at PNC Park. Wacha is trying to become the first St. Louis pitcher to win his first five starts in a season since Lance Lynn won six in a row in 2012. He's has been tough on the Bucs, going 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three games. The contest begins at 2:15 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Jung-ho Kang gets the start today (photo: Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Today's Lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, Pedro 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Jung-ho Kang 3B, Chris Stewart C, Worley P.

We're getting what may be a glimpse of the future with Josh going to second to give The Kid a break and Kang to third while Stew gives Fran Cervelli a blow. Now to see if these guys can get the Cards on the field; first they have to get them out of the heads. The kind of success St. Louis has against the Bucs at Busch, no matter what words come out of the locker room, has to be rooted in mentality as much as talent.

  • The Cardinals have provided Wacha with a 6.58 runs per game this year, while Worley has gotten 2.63 runs from the Pirate batters.
  • Hidden vigorish: the Pirates have gone 4-0 this season in games that Chris Stewart has started.
  • Life after Russ: the Pirates lead the majors in stolen bases allowed with 29; they also lead MLB in throw-outs at 12, a 29% caught swiping rate (league average - 28%).
  • Another point of to consider - the Pirates are a team that is built around making the routine play, not the spectacular, rangy ones. Their UZR/150 last year was -4.7, good for 25th in MLB, and this year is not much better with a -3.5 rating, 22nd in baseball. That's probably one of the major factors in management embracing the shift with open arms.
  • Pittsburgh is off tomorrow, and return home Tuesday for a six game home stand against the Reds and Cards.

No comments: