Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday: Steven Brault v Junior Guerra, Lineup (AJ Optioned), Notes, Preview, Shark on the Block?

Tonight: The game begins at 8:10 at Miller Park and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Pitchers: Steven Brault (0-0, 2.25) opens the set against Junior Guerra (6-2, 2.85). Brault took his MLB bow on July 5th against the Cardinals, allowing one earned run on four hits in four innings, but tossing 80+ pitches. The lefty's toolkit consists of a fastball, slider and change, to go along with pretty good command. We'll see if the butterflies have fluttered away and he can give the Bucs six good frames tonight. He's been on a roll at Indy - in his last two starts, he's tossed 12 scoreless frames, giving up just three hits and whiffing 16. Guerra's been a rock for the Brew Crew in his second season, and in his last outing against Pittsburgh got a no-decision in a 3-2 Pirates win. He went six, surrendering a pair of runs. Junior's not a big swing and miss pitcher, but he excels at inducing soft contact. He can be wild at times, so the Bucs would be wise to avoid fishing expeditions.

Brault on the bump (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Lineup: JJ 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Starling Marte LF, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Fran C, Josh 2B, Jordy SS, Brault P. JHK and Freeser continue to play musical chairs on the A team.

Preview: The Brew Crew just took 3-of-4 from the D-Backs and have won 13-of-18 games against the Bucs played at Miller Park in the past two seasons and taken 61 of 78 contests there since 2007, so there's still that Milwaukee ambience to deal with. The shiny sidebar to this series is the looming trade deadline. The Brewers have a couple of guys who have been dangled in the marketplace, while the Pirates have a glut of pitchers to sort through, so there could be a lot of moving pieces to track during this series, lasting up to last call on Monday afternoon.

Our thought is that the Brewers will sell, and we think the Bucs FO should tread lightly. The names they've been associated with in the pitching market have quite frankly underwhelmed us and the prices have been brutal. So unless they're looking at a top-to-mid-rotation type who is under control for a while or a bridge reliever, it doesn't look like there's much out there that would be difference-making. In fact, it may be a good time to shed an asset or two, like Matt Joyce, John Jaso, The Shark if overwhelmed, and of course Niese/Locke.

  • Ken Rosenthal reported that the Washington Nationals are talking to Pirates about Mark the Shark, and that they're not alone - multiple teams are pursuing Melancon.Without being specific to Mark, Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors noted that "In addition to the Nationals, we’ve seen the Dodgers, Cardinals, Indians, Rangers and Giants linked to top-tier bullpen help."
  • Chirs Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish resurrected the rumor that a reunion with the Mets may be in the cards for Jon Niese.
  • Tyler Glasnow tossed the ball around today, a good omen that he may be able to start pitching off flat ground shortly. Ryan V-Song is also with the team and is slated to throw a side session tomorrow.
  • Po' AJ - Schugs were optioned back to Indy again to clear an active roster space for Steven Brault.
  • The Arizona Fall League teams were announced today. The Pirates will send their contingent to the Surprise Saguaros. Altoona Curve hitting coach Kevin Riggs will be on the staff.
  • Cole Figueroa was DFA'ed by Miami, the third time he's been cut loose this season.

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