Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (4-4, 3.49) and Jake Arrieta (18-7, 2.85) will duke it out. JT hasn't really gotten it back in gear yet since skipping a turn, and it would be reassuring to see him finish up the year on a high note. Jamo hasn't seen the Cubs since June, when he gave up four runs in four frames. Jameson, btw, has worked 159-2/3 IP after missing two straight seasons. His previous high was 147-1/3 frames in 2013. After three typical shut-down starts against the Bucs to start the season, Jake has been touched up for 12 runs in 12-1/3 IP in his last two outings against the Corsairs, but is still 9-2, 2.44 in 14 career starts against the Pirates.
|JT looking to close out strong (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Josh Bell RF, Cutch CF, Matt Joyce LF, S-Rod SS, John Jaso 1B, David Freese 3B, Eric Fryer C, Jameson Taillon. Doesn't look like a kid's day line, but more like a nod to the bench guys. It's tough sledding against Jake under the best of circumstances, but w/o Gregory, Starling, JHK, Jordy or Fran in the lineup?
- Have mercy - Chicago is 14-3 against the Pirates, outscoring the Bucs 109-64 in 2016.
- Five games to go; everyone's start from today on will be their last of the campaign.
- The Giants won last night, so Pittsburgh is mathematically eliminated from the post season for the first time since 2012.
- Per Forbes Magazine, the Pirates TV ratings are #5 percentage-wise in MLB, but dropped 21% from last year. The raw viewing audience is just outside baseball's Top Ten. Indy had a good year, too - per @RyanSheets_ the club topped minor league teams in total attendance (636,888). The Tribe also led in total website visits with 2,912,975 and was second in unique hits with 666,568.
- The Pirates and Blue Jays will play two spring games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 31st and April 1st just before the Bucs start the season April 3rd against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Big O games should draw rowdy crowds to end camp on a high note (La Belle Ville fans always show up, and the Pirates-Expos were a thing back in the day), and it's tough to beat a campaign-opening series in Boston, a franchise that the Pirates first played back in 1887 as the Alleghenys.