Pitchers: (spoiler: this will seem familiar) Juan Nicasio (3-3, 4.02) takes on Alfredo Simon (1-3, 9.86). Juan looks like he's settling in to his starting role. His weak contact rate is Top Ten at 25%, though he oddly gives up a homer per game. Juan spun a three hit, seven inning goose egg at Cincy at the end of April. The Big Pasta has done OK against the Bucs this campaign. He's started twice and gone nine innings, giving up four earned runs. But he's walked six in those two games and was chased both time because of sky high pitch counts.
|Juan gets the ball tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Lineup: David Freese 1B, Cutch CF, Greg Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Jung Ho Kang 3B, S-Rod 2B, Jordy SS, Nicasio P. (yep, that should sound familiar, too; same as yesterday)
Freeser has played at first nine times prior to tonight, starting once in 2011 as a Card, although he has been working at the spot off-and-on since joining the club. His OBP (.363) matches JJ's (.358). But unlike Jaso, who isn't a burner but an efficient base runner, Freeser is pretty much a station-to-station runner, so it's kinda odd he's on top. It looks like Clint is going to be juggling a bit now that JHK's back and the bench is hot to get everybody some at-bats, so there should be some interesting orders comin' up.
One consequence of yesterday's rainout is that it allowed the Bucs to push the rotation back a day, so the team can go with both Frankie and Cole Train against the Cubs this weekend. The makeup date hasn't been determined yet, but the Reds said it won't be on Thursday’s scheduled off day. That would be way too easy.
- By the way, the little tempest in a teapot over Cutch's brief snit re: his dropped ball error last week against the Cubs is all moot. Chicago challenged it, and the MLB changed it to a hit.
- Indy left-hander Steven Brault went on the minor league DL because of a strained left hamstring. There's no word on how long he's expected to be out, and the minor league disabled list can last for seven days to infinity.
- In his second AA start at Altoona, Brandon Waddell went seven innings, giving up a run on three hits and two walks with five Ks while tossing 80 pitches.
- Former Buc prospect and now San Diego padre Alex Dickerson hit his first career home run yesterday, and he'll remember it well - it was a grand slam against the Cubs. Wasn't enough to help his old mates, tho, as SD fell 8-7.