Saturday, August 15, 2015

Charlie v Jon Niese; Lineup (Marte Still Out; Some Shake-N-Bake) & Notes

Today's Game - Charlie Morton (7-4, 4.48) faces southpaw Jonathon Niese (7-9, 3.46) in the middle game of this set. Charlie has had some early game blues, allowing 17 runs in 14 opening innings this season. He's been on a roller coaster ride; six of his 14 starts have ended up with him giving up two runs or less while three starts have seen him torched for five runs or more. Still, for all the hand wringing, the Bucs have won three straight and 10 of the 14 games Chuck has started this season. Morton is 0-3 with a 3.96 ERA in seven games against NY. He last faced them last year, losing 5-0.

Charlie on the hill (photo USA Today)
Neise, like the Mets, has been on a roll of late; his ERA in his last dozen starts is 2.77. He's a pitch-to-contact guy; his recent surge has been tied into limiting walks and long balls. He's faced the Bucs once this year, taking a 9-1 loss in May before his turnaround. Overall, he's 3-2/4.81 in seven lifetime starts against Pittsburgh. The game starts at 7:10 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Today's Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Jung-Ho Kang SS, Cutch CF, A-Ram 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Michael Morse 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Sean Rodriguez LF, Morton P.

Not your usual lefty lineup, with JHK moved to the two hole (he's hit in every lineup spot but leadoff) and Morse getting the nod at first. The rearrangement does make some sense; no real reason for Fran to be hitting in the bottom third of the order.

  • The Pirates have won five straight vs the Mets, Pittsburgh's longest winning streak v NY since taking seven in a row in 1992.
  • Liking leadoff: Gregory Polanco is hitting .378 this month, which ranks first in the NL and second in the majors behind Detroit’s Ian Kinsler (.383). El Coffee also leads the MLB this month in OBP at .462. To boot, he's on an eight game hitting streak.
  • Neil Walker leads all NL second basemen with 39 extra base hits this season.
  • In his last eight games, A-Ram has gone 10-for-32 with six RBI after going 4-for-34 in his first eight outings.
  • Clint Hurdle won his 400th game as manager of the Pirates last nite. His next victory will tie him with George Gibson for the eighth-most wins by a Pirates manager.
  • Mr. Everywhere: Sean Rodriguez has made 71 appearances at first base, 13 in LF, 10 in RF, eight at third base, five at second base & one at short.
  • Vance Worley is getting the start tonight at Indy.

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