Pitchers: Jon Niese (3-1, 5.94) faces Dan Straily (1-1, 3.56) Niese has been pretty bad the last three starts (1-1, 8.80). He's cited some mechanic issues, so maybe Uncle Ray can tinker some under the hood. He hasn't faced the Reds since 2014, and is 2-4/4.06 in the seven career starts he's made against them. Straily gave up a pair of runs in five innings against the Bucs last month; he's 1-1/3.38 against them lifetime.
|JHK back in the saddle (photo Ezra Shaw/Getty)|
Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy SS, Niese P. Back to the JHK lineup.
The Bucs are 3-3 against Cincinnati, 1-2 at GABP where they stranded a boatload of runners early in the season. The Reds suffer from Piratesque woes - short starts and an ineffective bullpen. With a trip to meet the Cubs at Wrigley following this set, it would be a good time for Pittsburgh to build on the momentum of a successful visit to Birdland.
- August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs looks at the Pirates shallow outfield alignment.
- Stephen Brault strained his hammy yesterday at Indy. The 24 year old lefty is an up and comer; he's 1-2 but with a 2.70 ERA and 35 K in 26-2/3 IP in AAA.
- Even the Cubbies aren't beyond working around someone. In his last 12 plate appearances against the Bruins (the series ended yesterday), Bryce Harper was walked 10 times (four intentional), hit by a pitch once and lifted a sac fly. That's a dozen straight trips to the dish without an official at-bat. Don't blame the Cubs for the strategy, tho - they swept the series while Ryan Zimmerman, batting behind Harper, left 16 runners on base in the two games (tho he did have three RBI).