Sunday, July 5, 2015

Gerrit v Danny Salazar; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - The series rubber match will pit Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.20) versus Danny Salazar (7-3, 3.80). The Cole Train is 6-1 with a 2.01 ERA in his last eight starts and has been charged with two or fewer earned runs in 13 of his first 16 outings. Gerrit enters today with a league-leading 11 wins (this is his third shot at 12) and is pretty much The Man. He's never taken on the Indians.

Salazar is known for his velocity (he sits at 95) and strikeouts with his fastball, slider, change combo, but on Tuesday changed gears and pitched to contact, carrying a no-no into the eighth while collecting his career high seventh win. We'll see if that strategy was an outlier; he still averages almost 11 K's per nine. He has never faced the Pirates. The match begins at 1:35 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

After his three hit day on Wednesday, Gregory has been 0-for-9 and Josh will take his place in right, with JHK manning the hot corner. Stew will again be behind the dish for Gerrit. So the top half of the order remains the same, with a gentle shake for the bottom four.

  • Mark Melancon leads the NL in saves (26), two shy of the club record for most saves prior to the All-Star break (Jason Grilli had 28 in 2013). His 24 consecutive save conversions are two short of Joel Hanrahan's franchise record of 26, set in 2011.
  • Fran Cervelli's start shouldn't be that much of a surprise. He's slashing .301/.376/.406 going into today; his line in 2014 was .301/.370/.432. Fran is 31 games and 70 PA's away from setting career season highs in those categories, so if anything is a surprise, it's his staying power.
  • Today’s tilt marks the halfway point of the season in games played. The Pirates had a 41-40 record after 81 games last year, a 51-30 record at the midway point in 2013 and are now 46-34. 
  • How about that? Saturday’s game time (2:06) was two minutes shorter than Friday’s rain delay (2:08).
  • The All-Star starters will be announced tonight at 7:30 on ESPN, and the rest of the club tomorrow at 7.

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