Thursday, June 25, 2015

AJ v DeSclafani; Lineup (Starling Sits) & Notes

Today's Game - AJ Burnett (6-3, 2.05) closes out the series against Anthony DeSclafani (5-5, 3.48). AJ was rocked last outing, but has gone 2-2 with a 1.27 ERA in six starts at PNC Park this season, the NL's lowest home field ERA. He's 1-0 in two starts against the Reds this year, with a 7-2 decision over DeScalfani in May. He's won his last three decisions against Cincy while allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his last five starts against them.

DeSclafani was part of the Mat Latos deal, and he's filled in nicely as his replacement. He doesn't impress as a guy with overwhelming stuff, but gets by on pin point location and mixing his pitches. DeSclafani has split two decisions against the Bucs so far this season with a 3.75 ERA. The game starts at 7:05 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

AJ (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates) 

Today's Lineup - Josh Harrison RF, Gregory Polanco LF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS, AJ P.

Here we were all worried about El Coffee's spot in the lineup and Starling gets a seat instead after a pair of fairly miserable clutch at-bats last night. So the outfield is a bit reshuffled tonight for AJ, who's looking for a bounce back game and a possible All-Star berth.

  • Three more whiffs and AJ passes Sudden Sam McDowell on the all-time K list to claim the 36th spot.
  • Pittsburgh’s bullpen brings a 2.39 ERA into tonight’s action, good for the third-best ERA among all MLB teams behind Kansas City (2.06) and St. Louis (2.09).
  • The rumor mill: Nick Carfaro of the Boston Globe says the Pirates had scouts out to look at Clay Buchholz last night. Rob Beirtempfel of the Trib reports the Phils are snooping around at Altoona (Ben Revere, maybe?), so there's some more deadline smoke in the air.
  • JHK feelin' it at home: He's hitting .337 at PNC Park.
  • Bats, plz: The Pirates have scored more than three runs just three times in their last 16 games. The Bucs are 31-6 when scoring four runs or more; 9-25 when scoring three or fewer, so four runs remains the magic number.
  • One reason for that lack of runs lately is the icy-cold stick of Gregory Polanco. He's gone just 4-for-24 in his last nine games, and there's been, fwiw, twitter talk about sending him back to Indy to polish up his game both at-bat and in the pasture.
  • Josh Bell (1B - Altoona) was named to the US Futures team; C Elias Diaz (Indy) was named to the World team. Altoona manager Tom Prince will be on the coaching staff for the US team.
  • Virginia became the first ACC school since 1955 (Clemson) to win the CWS last night, beating Vandy 4-2. Buc fifth-round draftee LHP Brandon Waddell retired the final 11 batters he faced and finished the night allowing two first-inning runs with four hits and two walks in seven innings.
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