Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday: Gerrit Cole v Jeremy Hellickson, Notes (JHK PoW, J-Hay Gone For Season), Lineup, Preview

Tonight: The series opens at 7:05 and will be carried by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (7-9, 3.55) returns from the DL to face Jeremy Hellickson (10-9, 3.90). Jamo was on track for this start but was skipped to save his arm. Cole Train and the trainer are working on a training program to deal with "kinetic-chain issues"; Gerrit thinks that a pre-season rib inflammation led to his other injuries by screwing up his mechanics. We'll see if he's in sync tonight. Hellickson was hot stuff around the deadline, but has come back to earth lately. In his last three starts, he has a 6.75 ERA. The Pirates are hoping to keep his bad numbers coming, but since they've become pretty adept at putting up zeroes lately, it could devolve into a battle of a moveable object v a resistible force.

The Cole Train is out of the roundhouse and back on track (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Fran Cervelli C, S-Rod 2B, Jordy SS, Cole P. Starling's been AWOL for quite a while, and J-Hay, it was announced, is out for 4-6 weeks, so that leaves Clint lots of shake 'n' bake opportunities.

Preview: The Phils have been puttering along since mid-August after a brief burst of respectability while the Pirates are stuck in a slump of biblical proportions (11 losses in 13 games). After vet Hellickson, the Phils have a couple of promising young arms to follow. We'll see where that leads Pittsburgh's erratic attack - they've scored 6+ runs three times this month, but have been goose-egged three times, too. Here's what we do know - the Pirates have 11 road matches against Philly, Cincy and Brew-town lined up and the Bucs probably need to win at least eight of them and get some outside help to make the month interesting again.
  • Jung Ho Kang was named the NL Player of the Week, hitting .522 with four homers and 10 RBI.
  • It was announced that Josh Harrison was diagnosed with a right groin strain. The estimated time of return is 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Not a surprise, but the Cubs win yesterday officially eliminated the Bucs from taking the NL Central crown. They're 21-1/2 games back with 21 games to go.
  • Baseball America picked its minor-league All-Stars from across six playing levels from AAA to rookie league, and only two Pirate farmhands made the list - pitchers Tyler Glasnow and Mitch Keller.
  • The Bradenton Marauders beat the Tampa Yankees 9-0 behind Mitch Keller to take a 2-1 series lead in the High A Florida State League Championship series. They could clinch the title tonight at McKechnie Field.
  • Altoona was eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs by Akron 1-0 in 10 innings. Bradon Waddell started and went seven innings of one-hit ball, and that was an iffy ruling on a grounder that went off a glove.

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