Lineup: Josh Harrison 2B, Starling Marte CF, Cutch RF, Gregory Polanco LF, David Freese 3B, John Jaso 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Gerrit Cole P. Fraze and Bell sitting against a righty after playing against southpaws, hmmm.
|John Jaso gets the nod this afternoon (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (0-1, 6.55 ERA) is coming off a couple of spotty starts, but he's been pretty effective against the Cubs, slashing 8-2/3.00 in 11 career starts v the Windy City nine. Cole Train was 1-1 in two starts last year, getting clocked once and tossing a gem the second time around. Wrigley doesn't faze him - Gerritt is 6-1/2.20 in seven lifetime outings at Chicago's 103-year-old ballyard. After dropping the last four, the Bucs are looking for Cole to be their stopper today. Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 6.00) was untouchable against the Bucs last year, going 3-0/0.47 with 21 K in 19 IP. That was pretty much the story against the league as he slashed 16-8/2.13 in 2016. Hendricks looked human against the Brewers in his first start, but he still had enough to take home the W.
- The Bucs have lost six straight games in Chicago and have gone 1-9 in their last 10 games played there since winning three in a row in 2015.
- Cutch's homer yesterday was the 176th of his career, tying him with Barry Bonds for fourth in franchise history. As an added bonus, it was the first home run by a Bucco ever launched at Fenway Park.
|Cutch is climbing the franchise HR ladder (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- The Bucs haven't won a road game yet; they were 40-41 away from PNC Park last year.
- Tyler Eppler's line for Indy yesterday - six scoreless IP, one hit, one walk and four K's after 71 pitches to prime the Indian's 5-1 win. In his two outings, he's tossed 11 shutout frames. Eric Wood had a double and homer in the victory. His tale was covered by Andrew Battifarano of MiLB.com, with mentions of a new pitch and whose brains he picked in his first spring vamp.
- 7,313 fans who packed Altoona's PNG Park were the largest Opening Day crowd in franchise history. The Curve came through behind two homers by 2B Kevin Kramer and the five-hit pitching of Austin Coley, Tate Scioneaux & Montana DuRapau.
- Bradenton had its season-opening eight game winning streak broken in the back half of a twin bill with Tampa, losing 2-1 after taking a 4-1 victory in the opener. Mitch Keller won the first match by working six innings (minor league DH's are seven frames) and giving up a run on three hits, a walk and four K. Ke"Bryan Hayes had a pair of hits and RBIs.