Monday, September 21, 2015

AJ v Jon Gray; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - AJ Burnett (8-5, 3.15) kicks off the Rox set against Jon Gray (0-1, 5.00) He pitched well against Jake Arrieta last outing, though he did have to dodge a few stray bullets. This is his third start since returning from the DL. Batman is 3-4 with a 3.18 ERA in seven career starts against Colorado, but hasn't faced them since 2013.

Gray was the third pick of the 2013 draft with a 95 MPH heater and nice slider, a curve and change up. He doesn't get deep into games (he's never gotten past the sixth, and that just once in eight starts), and hasn't hit 100 pitches yet, partially because Colorado has him on a loose pitch count. Gray has been getting better; his ERA for September is 3.60. The righty wasn't around for the decision in a 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh on August 28th, surrendering three runs and seven hits in 4-1/3 IP. The game starts at 8:40 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

The Rockies are 7-6 in their last 13 matches, and 10 of those games were on the road. They've taken recent series from the Giants and Dodgers, so they're capable of playing a spoiler role. This could turn into a trap series if the Bucs get caught looking ahead to the upcoming Cubs and Cards series; they want three wins.

Batman backed by the regular lineup tonight.

  • With 2,494 career strikeouts, AJ is eight whiffs shy of tying Christy Mathewson for 31st place on MLB's all-time K list.
  • The Pirates' magic number is three to clinch their third consecutive postseason berth. The Bucs have reached the postseason in three consecutive years on three prior occasions: 1901-1903, 1970-1972 and 1990-1992.
  • OF'er Keon Broxton joins the team in Colorado today. The 25-year-old OF'er split the 2015 season between Altoona and Indy. He hit a combined .273 with 27 doubles, 12 triples, 10 homers, 68 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 133 games. Keon mostly played center, but spent some time in left and a handful of games in right. To make space, JHK was moved to the 60-day DL.

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