Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.83) faces Chase Anderson (5-10, 5.40). JT has been inconsistent with his fastball command. When his heat is down in the zone, he's tough, but when it flattens out and elevates, ouch. Though his command has been iffy, his control hasn't - in 40 MLB frames, he's fanned 31 and walked just five. He's seen the Brew once and gave up a run on five hits with three whiffs in six frames on July 19th. Chase has been pretty bad, although his last four starts have kept the Brewers in the game, including a 9-5 Milwaukee win in Anderson's last start against Pittsburgh on the 20th. He hasn't gone longer than five IP since June 8th, so the preferred plan is to get to him early and dig a hole for the Brew Crew, because you're not likely to see him for a third trip through the lineup.
|JT toes the rubber tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: David Freese 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Starling LF, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Fran C, Josh 2B, Jordy SS, JT P. JJ takes a seat today. Freeser should be in the lineup every day, even if at lead off.
- The big news: The Pirates sent closer Mark Melancon to the Washington Nationals for a pair of hard throwing lefties (both have touched 100), reliever Felipe Rivero and prospect Taylor Hearns. The Shark was a bullpen backender that came over in the Joel Hanrahan deal with Boston. In four years w/Pirates, he went 10-10-174/1.80. Rivero is a 25 year old with a 0-3-1, 4.53 ERA/3.26 FIP line who averages over a K per frame; lots to like but some questions about his durability. Hearn is a lanky 21-year-old with an upper 90s heater and control issues who’s working A Ball. He’s been on the Bucco radar; he was the Pirates 22nd-round pick in 2012, but didn’t sign and went to Oklahoma Baptist. Adding some power arms and team control - Rivero has five years to go before FA - also figured in the decision.
|Good luck, Mark - we'll miss ya (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- Per ESPN's Jerry Crasnick: The Pirates are operating on multiple fronts and could acquire a reliever. The Pittsburgh FO is among the half-dozen most aggressive players in bullpen market, says one exec. Felipe Rivera's arrival may dampen that action.
- Reports on Fran are that he doesn't have a fracture, but a new bruise on top of an old bruise and he's back in the lineup tonight. But in case you've forgotten, the biggest red flag for Cervelli was his durability. His injury list: broken wrist (2008), concussion after beaning (2010), broken foot (2011), broken hand, Biogenesis suspension (2013), hamstring, cluster migraines (2014), hamate (2016). None of the injuries are chronic, but the Pirates have to keep their fingers crossed that he earns his $31M by being on the field more often than not in the next three years. Fran has caught 100+ games just once in his career, and that was last season.
- Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy isn't in today's lineup; maybe he's next up on the trade parade.
- For the armchair baseball historians among us, here's a precis list of the SABR convention presentations. It's a long one, as the presentations are all under 1/2 hour, but the gamut of subjects is wide ranging, covering topics from baseball cards to projected Negro League salaries if the guys were playing MLB ball. The SABR gang uses numbers to put some mud and blood on players and historic hardball hot buttons.