Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday: Bucs Dropped by the Birds; Night Game v Bosox, Pitching & Lineups, Notes

Tonight: The Bucs visit the Red Sox for a 6:05 match, their first evening contest of the spring and kickoff to three night games in a row. It's at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers and will be on MLB.TV & 93.7 The Fan. will show it on tape delay beginning at 8.

The pitchers: Ryan Vogelsong gets the ball with Arquimedes Caminero and Neftali Feliz behind him. David Price answers the bell for Boston.

The lineup: Jordy Mercer SS, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Jason Rogers 1B, Josh Harrison 2B, Gregory Polanco RF, V-Song. This may be the lefty lineup; there is no real good leadoff option; we're sorta surprised Fran isn't plugged in there. For the Bosox, ol' Bucco Brock Holt is hitting leadoff tonight.

Don't get too many chances to see Jordy in the top spot (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Yesterday: Jon Niese cruised through the first three frames, then an RBI double and two run dinger blemished the outing. He did go six innings, giving up six hits and four runs (two left the yard) and raised a bit of a red flag with more balls hit in the air than on ground.  The Bucs made a game of it, going down 6-5 when Eric O'Flaherty gave up the losing run on three straight one-out knocks in the ninth. Jorge Rondon gave up a homer in his inning of work, so none of the Bucco hurlers escaped unscathed.

Matt Joyce had another big day, going 2-for-4 with a homer, walk, stolen base, two RBI and two runs scored. P-Flo is still channeling Honus Wagner as his two-run triple tied the game in the eighth inning. In fact, a pack of Pirates had two hits: Joyce, Stew, Cole Figueroa, who is battling Joyce for a bench spot, Michael Morse and Danny Ortiz. Here's the box score.

Some little ouchies to report - Michael Morse felt a hammy grab after a slide and sat it down; he said he thought it was minor. Both Jason Rogers and S-Rod were to supposed play today, but called off sick; this would not be an ideal time to have the bug going through the clubhouse.Seems to be small beans, tho; Rogers is penciled in on tonight's lineup card.
  • Corey Luebke has a fan club, per Jon Heyman. He tweets (sic) "Scouts r buzzing about Cory Luebke, 94 mph (87 curve) with pirates...Has out in deal."
  • Albert Chen of Sports Illustrated has the good, bad and ugly of the 2016 Pirates.
  • Fangraphs Neil Weinberg picks the Pirates as having the strongest left field in baseball according to projected WAR. Three guesses who the reason for that rating is... 
  • Deolis Guerra, claimed from the Bucs by LA via Rule 5 and recently released by the same has cleared waivers and chosen to become a free agent.
  • Pete Mackanin was signed to a new two-year contract by the Phils. This is Pete's fourth year as a skipper (Pittsburgh & Cincy priors) and he has yet to get a full season in.
  • On Tuesday, April 5th, Pittsburgh's Chick-Fil-A restaurants will be giving away free chicken sandwiches from 10:30 AM to 8 PM. All you have to do to get one is to come into the store (drive thru won't work) wearing Pittsburgh Pirates gear. The promotion combines the Bucs opening series  against the Cards with the store’s Customer Appreciation Day; they ran a similar promo last season.

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