Monday, July 6, 2015

AJ v James Shields; Lineup & Notes - Josh on DL, Starling Out

Today's Game - AJ Burnett (7-3, 2.05) and James Shields (7-3, 4.14) go head-to-head in the series kickoff. AJ has won seven of his last nine decisions, posting a 1.77 ERA in his last five starts, and has gone 2-2 with a 1.29 ERA in seven outings at home. He owns an 11-5 win this year over San Diego, and lifetime is 4-7 with 4.38 ERA in 12 starts against the Friars.

Shields has been mostly solid for the Padres, tho he is carrying a three-game losing streak into today's game and has three+ walks in three of his last four starts. Big Game James has faced the Pirates once, getting a no decision earlier in the year. He went six innings, giving up six hits and two runs. The game starts at 7:05 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. There may be a passing shower or two tonight (imagine that) but the game is forecast to be a go.

Josh won't be flying around the bases for awhile (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

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

Josh is out, and will be for awhile with torn thumb ligaments. Starling is also sitting with a rib cage injury of unknown seriousness (though he is listed as available from the bench, he said he wasn't ready to play). The Bucs were bound to get bit by the injury bug sooner or later; we'll see how the depth holds up now, and how it affects their participation in deadline dealing.

  • Josh Harrison tore ligaments in his thumb on a face plant slide yesterday; he was put on the 15 day DL and is expected to miss six weeks (although he'll seek another opinion tomorrow; it's still too swelled to be 100% sure of the severity). Travis Ishikawa took his place on the roster. Looks like swim-or-sink time for JHK and El Coffee, and the need for a fourth outfielder suddenly hit alarm status, especially if Starling's injury is more than a tweak and lands him on the DL, too
  • The Pirates have never won a series against San Diego at PNC Park. The last series the Bucs took at home against the Friars was in 2000 at TRS; SD is 43-12 at PNC and won 16 of the last 19 contests. They haven't done much hitting lately, scoring two runs or fewer five times in the past six games, so maybe it's time for the worm to turn. But they are coming off a four game split at St. Louis, where the Cards are scary good.
  • Andrew McCutchen has hit safely in 12 straight games, the longest streak by a Pittsburgh player this season (Josh went 11 games). Cutch’s longest career hitting streak is 13 games from back in 2009. The Kid is working on a nine-gamer.
  • Jordy Mercer has started the last 20 games at shortstop and is hitting .293 with eight doubles and seven RBI in that time. He has six multi-hit contests in the last 13 games.
  • Pat Murphy, the Padres' interim manager, is Pedro's father-in-law.
  • OF Michael Suchy of the WV Power was named the Sally League Player of the Week after hitting .421 with two homers and 10 RBI. Suchy, 22, was a fifth round pick in last year's draft.
  • The Mets on-again six man rotation is going through a couple of bumps.

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