Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Charlie v Brad Hand; Lineup (JHK Takes Five; Lefty Order) & Notes

Today's Game - Charlie Morton (8-4, 4.06) toes the rubber versus lefty Brad Hand (3-3, 4.46). Charlie's coming off a gem against the Giants, and has posted a 2.93 ERA in his last five starts, with the Pirates winning each game during that span. He defeated David Phelps 4-2 earlier in the season and has gone 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last five outings against the Fish.

Hand is getting his second stint as a starter for Miami this year, and he's been OK in that role with a couple of good outings and one beatdown by the Cards. Brad's 7-20 career record as a starter is the worst among active pitchers, according to STATS, although he is 3-2 in that role this year. He faced the Bucs once in 2014 and came away with a no decision in a 6-3 Marlin win.

Beginning tonight the Pirates are scheduled to face five left-handed starters in the next six games. The Buccos are 14-10 against opposing southpaws this year, winning four of the last five games Getting righty bats like A-Ram & Michael Morse along with the return of Jordy and Josh should help the cause against the lefty onslaught.

The game begins at 7:10 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

JHK loses out on today's game of musical chairs; The Kid and Pedro get seats thx to a lefty on the hill for the Fish. Walker's platooning helps a couple of ways; Josh is rangier in the field, and against lefties this year is hitting .306 with a .775 OPS; Neil is stuck at .237 & .570. Also, it's really about the only spot to shoehorn Josh unless one of the OF'ers is due for some off time; there's already a three-way rotation going on for the left side..

  • Starling Marte is on a nine game hitting streak. He's also been pretty clutch this year. He's tied with Toronto’s Josh Donaldson with a MLB-leading 15 game-winning RBI.
  • Charlie is on a K-binge. For the first time in Morton’s eight seasons in the bigs, he’s recorded  eight strikeouts+ in two consecutive games (nine v Mets; eight v San Fran).
  • Mark Melancon’s 40 saves are the third-highest single-season total in club history, tied with Joel Hanrahan (40-2011) and behind Mike Williams (46-2002) & Jose Mesa (43-2004).
  • The Pirates have won six of their last seven games and 10 of their last 12.
  • AJ is slated to throw a bullpen session today as part of his rehab program. Like Jordy and Josh, his recovery is going along smoothly and if anything, ahead of schedule. 
  • The Pirates promoted 2015 sandwich-round pick, 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, to the Morgantown Black Bears from the GCL for a couple more weeks of work at a higher level.

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