Pitchers: Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.19; w/Pittsburgh 5-1, 2.93) butts heads with Joe Ross (7-5, 3.48). Nova is coming off a bummer start and aims to regain his Bucco mojo; he's looking for a money tree with his name on it during the off season, and a couple of more strong outings down the stretch could sprout that acorn. Not much history between Washington and Ivan, as he hasn't faced the Nats since 2012. Ross has made one start since coming off the DL with a bum wing and tossed 51 fairly effective pitches. The Nats will probably have him on a count again, with one regular season start to follow as they nurse him into playoff shape. The Pirates should load up with LH hitters; his slash is .218/.251/.345 v righties and .322/.393/.435 v lefties this year.
|Ivan takes the bump (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Josh Bell RF, Cutch CF, Jung Ho Kang 3B, John Jaso 1B, S-Rod SS, Matt Joyce LF, Fran Cervelli C, Nova P. Starling and Gregory are out as expected; we're wondering just whassup with Jordy's arm. Another surprise, to us, is that after 11 innings behind the plate during a 4-1/2 hour game Fran didn't get a blow today.
- Juan Nicasio's string of 32 straight appearances with a whiff is MLB's longest since 2014 when Aroldis Chapman went 37 consecutive outings with a K.
- Cutch has been happening since his three-day blow at Atlanta. He was supposed to be nursing a sore wrist; maybe the time off made all the difference. That makes us wonder how many other players would benefit by standing down when banged up. Sure seems to us like the Bucs prefer to hurry guys back rather than nursemaid them a bit.
- Wayne Cavadi of Today's Knuckleball takes a look at SS Kevin Newman.
- Hmmm... In nine outings (seven starts) with Toronto, Frankie Liriano has a 3.35 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 1.186 WHIP.
- Congrats to Texas manager Jeff Banister, whose Rangers won the AL West last night.