Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cole Train v Justin Verlander; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.16) faces Justin Verlander (0-1, 6.17) to open the Tiger set. Gerrit has the Reds, his nemesis, in the rear view mirror and can start working on racking up a few more wins against the rest of the league. The Cole Train won a 5-4 decision (6 IP - one ER) against Anibal Sanchez in Pittsburgh’s home opener on April 13th in his only career start against Detroit.

Verlander, the 32-year-old former CY Young and MVP winner, missed his last start with back stiffness, but is back on the bike. He was out for the first 2-1/2 months of the season with triceps soreness, and has juste two starts in 2015. Pittsburgh is a good match for him; he's 4-1/3.00 in five lifetime starts v the Pirates. The game starts at 7:08 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Gettin' tough to get Jordy to sit down (photo Justin Aller/Getty Images)

The Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Neil Walker 2B, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, Jung Ho-Kang 3B, Fran Cervelli DH,  Pedro 1B, Jordy SS, Stew C (Cole P).

Ah, the land of the DH. It would be a nice series to see the Bucco bats wake up. Detroit isn't working through that issue, entering this series hitting .306 in their last seven games and plating 46 runs. Of course, a team ERA of 4.55 during June helps offset those bats; that's why they're 11-12 this month.

  • Gerrit needs one win to become the first Pirate pitcher with 12 wins before the All Star Game (and fifth overall) since Ken Brett (12) in 1974. The others to accomplish that feat were Dock Ellis (14-3 in 1971), ElRoy Face (12-0 in 1959) and Rip Sewell (12-2 in 1943). 
  • Jordy Mercer went 3-for-4 on Sunday and is hitting .414 with five doubles in his last seven games while producing four straight multi-hit outings. Cutch has a six-gamer and Starling has a five game streak goin' on, too.
  • Seven Pirate position players (Josh, El Coffee, Starling, Fran, JHK, The Kid and Jordy) have batted in at least four different spots in the lineup. So start with Cutch at third, Pedro fifth or sixth and the pitcher ninth, then roll dem bones...
  • .Pittsburgh lost both games played at Comerica Park in 2014 and has gone 2-8 in Detroit dating back to 2012. They also dropped 2-of-3 to El Tigres at PNC Park in April. It might help that this is a Bucco fathers' day trip - 16 Pirate paps will make the trip to Motown.
  • The Bucs play ten straight games from now until the All-Star break.
  • RHP Chris Volstad is out of options; so he could be claimed on waivers. If he passes through that, he can opt for free agancy if he wants. That gamble is why you don't often see the most likely prospect called up early in the season.
  • From TSN's Cory Collins: Travis Snider and his #1 fan in a story that'll make ya say "awwww..."

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