Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.11) takes on Zach Eflin (2-3, 4.14). Cole Train is looking to get back on the fast track after a slow start following his visit to the DL. Gerrit Cole is winless over his last five mound trips, but beat the Phillies twice last season while allowing three earned runs, and sports a career mark of 3-1, 2.31 against them in four lifetime starts. Elfin will be making his seventh MLB start tonight, and throws a four seamer, two seamer, change and slider. The Phillies acquired Eflin, 22, from Los Angeles in the Jimmy Rollins trade. He was the 33rd overall pick by San Diego in the 2012 draft and pitched well in AAA, so he has some pedigree. The 6' 6" rookie was pounded in his first start, but settled in nicely since then. He's posted a 2.56 ERA in his last six outings and has gotten at least into the sixth frame.
|Cole Train opens the Philly series (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Lineup: Jordy SS, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, JJ 1B, Fran C, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Josh 2B, Cole P. Well, guess Jaso is out of the leadoff spot for the time being, bumped by Jordy, who is batting in the top spot against RHP for the first time. JHK gets some innings as Freeser takes a seat.
Preview: The Phillies come to town with a gang of young arms providing decent pitching, but backed by a sputtering attack. They've lost 4-of-5 while the Pirates have taken 12-of-17. The Bucco offense hasn't kicked it into high gear since the ASB either, so this series could be another grinder with the potential for some low-scoring matches. The three Philadelphia starters are wet behind the ears but have shown flashes of promise. In fact, with Glasnow and Taillon following on after tonight, Cole will be the mound Methuselah during this clambake. Last year, the Bucs were 5-2 against their cross-state rivals, sweeping the Phils at PNC and splitting a four-game set at Citizens Park.
- Jordy is riding a six-game hitting streak, another reason he's hitting leadoff.
- @Elias Sports stat: The Bucs have won 122 straight when leading after eight innings, the longest stretch in team history, topping the old standard of 112 in 1904-05.
- Chris Shubert of MLB Daily Dish looks at the Central Division trade possibilities; he seems to think it will be pretty quiet.
- The Pirates Charity Night auction is tonight.
- Phils manager Pete Mackanin got his start as Lloyd McClelland's bench coach. After Lloyd was fired, Pete served as the Pirates' interim manager for the last month of 2005, leading the team to a 12–14 record.