Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cole Train v Michael Wacha: Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Gerrit Cole (18-8, 2.60) gets the middle game of the set against Michael Wacha (17-6, 3.15). Gerrit is coming off a big win against the Cubbies at Wrigley, and is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in three starts against the Cards this year, having defeated John Lackey & Lance Lynn while dropping a 4-2 decision to Wacha. Lifetime, Cole Train is 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA in seven career regular season starts versus the Redbirds. This will also be Gerrit's final regular season start.

Cole Train gets his final tuneup before the post-season (Jared Wickersham/Getty Images)
Wacha hasn't been showing ace stuff in his last four starts. During that span of 20 innings, he's given up five home runs, walked 14 and surrendered 15 runs. He may be wearing down, having tossed 70 more frames already this season than he did last year. Wacha's managed to find a way against Pittsburgh, tho - he's 2-0 in three 2015 starts and 3-0/1.93 ERA in six career games (five starts) versus the Buccos.

The ace-on-ace match-up starts at 1:35 and will be on the MLB Network, Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. The weather should be fine if a bit autumn-ish, in the mid-60s with gray skies. So if you can slip outta work, this should be a good game to catch, with Cole v Wacha as a top shelf drawing card and prob not much of a crowd to deal with.

Today's Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, A-Ram 3B, The Kid 2B, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy SS, Cole P.

The Buccos will try to recover their batting mojo after back-to-back whitewashes. The lineup is the same as last night's would have been. Our only question mark was whether Fran would catch this game with Gerrit on the mound or if Stew would get the call; but they're no longer an item.

  • Craig Edwards of Fangraphs writes that "Gerrit Cole Is Now the Most Important Pirate." 
  • The Cards magic number is two; if they win either game today, they clinch. The Pirates have gone 8-9 against the Cardinals this season. The Redbirds are the only NL Central team the Bucs have a chance of finishing with a winning record against this year.
  • Pittsburgh's magic number for a home wild card game against the Cubs is three. 
  • JHK visited the clubhouse Monday, apparently in good spirits considering the situation. 
  • Adam Wainwright will be available from the pen today. OF'er Stephen Piscotty was diagnosed with a mild concussion after his Monday collision; he may rejoin the club in Atlanta.
  • The Cards have 99 wins; one more will make them the first 100-win team since the 2011 Phillies went 102-60.
  • If you had a ticket to last night’s postponed game but can’t make it to the park this afternoon, you can swap your ticket for a another home game, of which four remain. The Pirates will allow fans to trade in Tuesday tickets for an April 2016 game during the offseason. 
  • Now that the Giants are eliminated, baseball will have gone a record-setting 15 consecutive years without a repeat (back-to-back) champion.

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