Pitchers: Jon Niese (3-0, 5.08) faces Jake Arrieta (5-0, 1.00) in the middle game. Jon is still struggling to find some consistency and more importantly, keeping the ball in the yard - he's already given up a league high seven homers. He was 0-2 against Chicago last year in two starts, but his ERA of 3.38 was solid. Arrieta has been brilliant; he's limited opponents to a measly 4.5 hits/nine so far this season. He owned Pittsburgh last year, going 3-0/1.75 during the regular season before cutting out their hearts in the playoffs. Not often you'll see two undefeated pitchers go at from such different ends of the spectrum performance-wise.
|Jon may be undefeated, but he's the underdog tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Matt Joyce RF, Fran Cervelli C, Gregory Polanco LF, S-Rod 2B, Jordy SS, Niese P. Little shake 'n' bake against Jake; the two least disciplined swingers on the team, Starling and Josh, take a seat.
The Cubs out-Bucco'ed the Bucs last night. They stacked the bases with runners, were more patient at the plate, more aggressive running the bases, and made all the plays in the field. Let's see if the Pirates can get back to doing their thing against a guy who has pretty much been doing his thing against Pittsburgh recently.
- Dayn Perry of CBS Sports notes that the Pirate-Cub rivalry is becoming a thing.
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that the Bucco-Marlins series in Puerto Rico is on the verge of being cancelled because of Zika virus concern and moved to Miami. He also warns that health experts believe that Southern Florida could serve as a point of entry for the disease in the US, presenting MLB with a potentially huge can of worms to deal with this summer.
- Keith Lott of Fantasy Baseball rates the Top 50 AAA pitchers - and all of Indy's five man rotation is included. Lott writes "It is unfair that the Pittsburgh Pirates are just waiting for Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon to join Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole in their rotation. They also have three other starters at the AAA level (Stephen Brault, Chad Kuhl and Wilfredo Boscan) with an ERA of 2.05 or lower."