Pitchers: RHP Chad Kuhl (3-2, 3.70) opens the series against Adam Wainwright (9-8, 4.53) in a classic wet-behind-the-ears kid taking on a grizzled vet mound match. Chad put together a string of five starts that covered 6> IP and 2< runs per outing, but in his last outing, the Cubs put up a three spot in five innings, so he's looking for a bit of a bounce back. Wainwright was icy in April, hot in June and July, hit a wall in August and then tamed the Brew Crew in his first September start, so we'll see if he's heating up in the dog days. Waino is 12-7, 4.18, lifetime against the Pirates and has three starts against the Pirates this season (1-1, 3.26) with the Cards taking two, but he's lost four straight matches at PNC and hasn't won in his last eight outings, so there's that.
|Mr. Consistent, Chad Kuhl, toes the rubber for the 10th time (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Lineup: Josh Harrison 2B, John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy SS, Cool P. JJ's back in; gotta go with the hot hand in September. Now if Clint would consider flipping J-Hay and Fran...
Preview: The Cards have lost 3-of-4 to the Brewers and Reds while the Bucs have been toasted in their last six games, so both teams are kinda staggering in the late rounds. But the Redbirds have one big, if somewhat counter-intuitive, advantage: they are 42-27 on the road while Pittsburgh is just 34-33 at PNC Park and 1-8 in the last three home sets, being swept twice. The Bucs are 3-1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second wildcard and a series win would keep them in the hunt while the Redbirds can put the Pirates in intensive care if they take the set. There are only 25 games left to the campaign when the series is done, so like sand in an hourglass...
- Jung Ho Kang has rejoined the team from the DL. In kind of ominous news, Elias Diaz is also here, not to join the squad but to see a team doctor. Today is Indy's last game, so the Bucs may be bringing up a couple of more warm bodies shortly.
- The Pirates have had four pitchers make their MLB debuts as starters this year (Jamo, Kuhl, Steven Brault & Tyler Glasnow). The last time the Bucs had four or more rookies take their maiden voyage as starters in a single campaign was 1903.
- Pittsburgh's six-game losing streak is a season high and they were shut out in three of those defeats. They dropped five in a row twice in June while in a 2-13 funk.
- The Redbirds & Pirates have exchanged three-game sweeps at PNC Park this season.
- The Cards have homered in 23 straight games, a franchise record. They are 12-11 in those contests.