Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (3-1, 3.50) takes on Kyle Hendricks (12-7, 2.19). Cool Chad has been as consistent as clockwork - in his last seven starts, six have gone six IP and he's given up more than two earned runs just once. His last performance showed some strong sinker action; he got 12 ground balls to six flies with five K. But (always a but, right?) that one bad outing was his only appearance against the Cubs when he was chased in the third frame, so we'll see what's he's learned since then. Hendricks, 26, has been brilliant this season and leads MLB starters in ERA. Since May 22, he hasn't given up more than three earned runs, and he's only been tagged for a three-spot twice over 18 starts. Kyle is tough at Wrigley, where he's 8-1, 1.31 in 13 games this season. He gave up seven hits and one run with 12 K over six frames in his only outing against the Bucs this year, back in June.
|Chad has his work cut out tonight (photo Gary Vasquez/USA Today)|
Lineup: Josh Harrison 2B, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy SS, Kuhl P, Clint's regular lineup.
- From @joe_block - Starling Marte's 17 outfield assists are the most for the Pirates since Dave Parker's 26 in 1977. He's tied for the MLB lead in OF assists with Adam Eaton.
- Gerrit Cole, on the DL until at least September 9th, has rejoined the team after his second opinion test confirmed elbow inflammation and nothing more sinister.
- The Pirates sent OF Tito Polo and LHP Stephen Tarpley to the Yankees as the PTBNL in the Ivan Nova deal. Neither are among the Pirate elite, but both are young and solid High-A guys ranked among the Bucs Top 30 Prospects, so it's a decent haul for the Bronx Bombers. Polo, 22, slashed .289/.360/.415 with 16 HR over two A levels this year while Tarpley, 23, was 6-4, 4.32.
- Josh Bell was named to the International League postseason all-star team.
- Altoona OF Barrett Barnes was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the second time this month. He hit .409 with three home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs last week and is slashing .311/.378/.478 for the campaign.
- @piratesprospects reported that Gift Ngoepe and Dovydas Neverauskas were arrested in Toledo over the weekend during a bar fight. The Pirates have suspended the pair for the remainder of the season, which for Indy ends on September 5th. Tigers prospect Warwick Saupold was also arrested, per Danny Wild's more complete MiLB article.
- Neil Walker has a significant back issue that will need to be carefully managed for the rest of the season, meaning Walker will need regular time off and that it’s a matter of at least some long-term concern, per MLB Trade Rumors Jeff Todd. You could see it coming, but it's still pretty terrible timing for a guy that's approaching free agency.
- The Tigers called up JaCoby Jones, sent to Detroit last year for Joachim Soria, and sent down ex-Bucco Casey McGehee. Motown also outrighted Alex Presley with the intention of signing him to a minor league deal if he clears waivers.
- If you're curious, four is the break-even number of runs for most ball games per Baseball Reference. Their numbers show that when a team gives up three runs, it wins 60% of its games; when they surrender five runs, it drops to 35%. Four runs win 49% of the contests.