Pitchers: Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.33) battles Jhoulys Chacin (1-1, 3.42). Jeff has answered the bell lately. He almost always puts together a strong stretch of starts at some point during a season, and looks like he's currently in the middle of one now. Locke has gone six innings or more in six of his last seven starts. Chacin is pitching in place of Nick Tropeano, who was scratched for undisclosed medical reasons. Jhoulys will be working his regular turn, though; he was originally slated for an extra day off and the Sunday start. He was recently acquired from the Bravos to shore up a rotation plagued by injury and features five pitches with a 53% ground ball rate. He's coming off his best performance of the year, a one run, four hit, 10 K complete game victory over Justin Verlander and the Tigers.
|Jeff will try to halt the Bucco skid this afternoon (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy SS, Stew C, Locke P. Jordy's back a little sooner than expected and Fran must be getting close as Clint was debating whether he should go today (Stew is bruised up, too). Still, with Cutch, Gregory & Jordy in the ineup, that's three down and just two more (Freese & Fran) to go.
Should be interesting today, with both veterans coming off complete game gems. The Pirates sure should could use another Locke-Down performance today. They could also use some runs; the offense lately seems to have one big game per series, then fall into snooze mode. With the Mets and their young gun staff coming to PNC Monday, it would behoove the Bucs to make hay while the Halos are in town.
- Freese is definitely out as he can't grip a bat, while Jordy is back in the saddle. To make the picture a little murkier, both catchers are banged up: Fran is still recovering from a foot bruise while Stew caught a pitch on the arm last night.
- Jeff has put together a modest but personal best three game winning streak
- The Pirates have optioned Wilfredo Boscan and Rob Scahill to Indy and called up Cory Luebke and Curtis Partch. The move isn't much of a surprise, as the pen needed replenished after Frankie's short stint on the heels of a 12 inning game and Rob/Wil worked extended outings last night. Ryan Vogelsong was put on the 60-day DL to make room for Partch on the 40-man roster.
- Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News thinks the Bucs might make a move for Julio Teheran.
- SS Kevin Newman (.346/.414/.444), C Taylor Gushue (.240/5/18) and reliever Luis Heredia (3-0-3, 0.76) rep Bradenton on the Florida State League All-Star roster. Heredia is especially interesting; he was a big Latin signing and Top 100 Prospect early in his career, hit a bump, and has reinvented himself as a closer.