Let's see...Kershaw has won the Cy Young three of the past four years, has a killer curve, leads the league in K's and comes into the game with a 37 inning scoreless streak. After a slow start, the five-time All-Star is 7-3 in his last 12 outings with a 1.10 ERA, 112 strikeouts in 89-2/3 innings and just 12 walks. Yikes! He hasn't faced the Bucs since 2013, but in eight lifetime starts, he's 2-1/2.39.
|National TV v Kershaw...(photo Associated Press)|
Today's Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, A-Ram 3B, Jung-Ho Kang SS, Michael Morse 1B, Sean Rodriguez 2B, Chris Stewart C, Cole P.
Well, get on TV and sit Fran, The Kid and Pedro. We can see the argument for all three - Stew is Cole's caddy, The Kid gets a break against a tough lefty, and Pedro gets a seat against, well, any lefty. As Clint sez: Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble...
- Elias Stats: the Clayton Kershaw/Gerrit Cole battle will be first August-or-later matchup of the MLB strikeouts leader vs. wins leader since September 11th, 1973, when Nolan Ryan faced Wilbur Wood.
- ESPN Note: Cole will try to become the first Pirates pitcher to be the first in the majors to 15 wins in a season since Vern Law in 1960. Law won the Cy Young Award and the Pirates won the World Series that season.
- Counting today, Stew has caught the last 16 starts of the Cole Train. It doesn't hurt tonight that Chris traditionally hits Kershaw well (6-for-12, HR: go figure).
- LA is on a roll; they've won six of their last seven games. But PNC Park has been a little spooky for them - Los Angeles is 2-5 in their last seven games in Pittsburgh.
- Got the right stuff? We'll find out soon enough. Beginning tonight, the Pirates are scheduled to play the three division leaders in consecutive series: at home with the Dodgers, then the Cardinals and Mets on the road next week.
- Riflemen: the Dodgers lead the NL with 25 outfield assists; the Bucs are next with 23.
- OF/1B Alex Dickerson was called up by the Padres yesterday. He was traded by the Bucs to SD for OF Jaff Decker & RHP Miles Mikolas (now pitching in Japan) during the 2013 off season.