Pitchers: Ivan Nova (8-6, 4.83; 1-0, 3.86 Pgh) v Ross Stripling (3-3, 3.79). Ivan was workmanlike is his last outing, which is a step up from what the Bucs had been getting. We'll see how working in the NL suits him; the Pirates FO seems pretty high on his potential. Stripling is replacing Rich Hill, who is still bothered by a blister. He started in the LA rotation, went on the DL (lower body fatigue, thought by many as a way to shut him down and save some IP. Sound familiar?) and returned in late July, working from the pen. His last outing was a start, and he shut out Boston for five innings on four hits. The 26-year-old's major issue will be pitch count as LA has handled their young guys with kid gloves. This will be the first time either twirler has met the opposing club.
|Ivan Nova hits the hill for the second time as a Buc (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: Josh 2B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Freeser 3B, Jordy SS, S-Rod 1B, Eric Fryer C, Nova P. The new look lineup stays intact; JJ and JHK sit while Freeser and S-Rod play, which sounds about right. Eric is behind the dish; Fran's wrist is apparently still sore.
Preview: The Dodgers have a duct-taped rotation and lost Clayton Kershaw, but have hung tough and are dancing with the Giants for the NL West crown. The Pirates will see two pups and a dog-eared vet in this series, and none of them get very deep into games. That suits Big Blue. Their bullpen has a 3.14 ERA, best in the NL, and have worked even more innings than the Pirates beleaguered relief corps. The left coasters do it with a middle-of-the-pack offense, even with Corey Seager's red hot campaign. So the Pirates are looking to win the six-inning game; it's tough to spot the Dodgers a lead and overtake them. Overall, the Bucs have matched up well recently against Blue. Pittsburgh took three out of four at PNC Park in June and is 13-4 versus Los Angeles since the start of 2014.
- Fran Cervelli doesn't have a structural injury. He said he's suffering from tendinitis that sometimes gets aggravated when he bats.
- Pittsburgh just finished its 20 game stretch against the bottom feeders; they went 10-10. A not-so-friendly run is coming up starting tonight against the Dodgers, then the Giants, Marlins and Astros.
- Chris Stewart is slated to go seven innings behind the plate tonight for the Curve in his first rehab start since his knee flare up.
- The Pirates' replaced the September 10th Frankie Liriano bobblehead giveaway with a Zambelli fireworks night. Can't lose with fireworks in this town, but Frankie had a lot to do with the Pirates rebound even if he is gone. We think they should have stuck to Plan A. BTW, the JHK bobblehead concerns ended up not a big thing. 18 fans decided to not take the Kang likeness yesterday and opted for an alternate freebie.