Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Jordy SS, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco LF, Fran Cervelli C, Jose Osuna RF, J-Bell 1B, Gift Ngoepe 2B & Jameson Taillon P. Interesting that Gift rather than Alen Hanson gets the start against the lefty. It also tells us that Freeser isn't ready to return yet; the Bucs list him as day-to-day. Jose Osuna looks like JJ's platoon mate in right.
|Gift gets his first MLB start tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (1-0, 2.13) toes the rubber against lefty Adam Conley (1-1, 3.00) . JT ripped off three strong starts before having an atypically poor outing against the Yankees last time out, suffering from lack-of-command issues. He's looking to climb back on the bar stool tonight. Taillon has never faced Miami. Conley is in his third year on the Miami staff and had to win the last rotation spot in camp. He's got a low-90s heater, slider and change. The book on him is to be patient at least the first time around as he likes to work the fringes of the dish, though walks haven't been a real big issue yet this year and his 1.11 WHIP is pretty strong. Conley has tackled the Bucs once in his career. It was last year and he tossed six innings of two-hit shutout ball, striking out nine. And he's a lefty, so...
- Andrew has reached base safely in 16 straight games and J-Bell in 11 straight.
- After a slow start, Amore has thrown out a runner attempting to steal in each of his last two games.
|Fran is starting to find the range (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- How rarely does Clint opt for a four-out save? Tony Watson got his first multi-inning save since April 22nd, 2015 (he went two IP for his only save of the campaign) on Wednesday. It was the team's first multi-inning close in over a year, last seen when Mark the Shark performed the honors on April 22nd, 2016.
- The Pirates are tied for the most errors (20) and most unearned runs surrendered (15) in the NL. Think how good the starting rotation would be if the team backed them with some leather.
- The Marlins had Pittsburgh's number last year, going 6-1 against them.
- Old Bucco infield coach Perry Hill has been with Miami since 2011 and they have had one of the best-fielding clubs in baseball during his tenure. Under his hand in 2009, the Pirates led the MLB in fielding % (.988) and set the club records for the most games played without an error in one season (101) and fielding %. Beside slick glove work, watch for the Fish to shift early and often; they've embraced the concept this season.
- Financial concerns don't just affect the payroll - the Pirates, FWIW, are the second-slowest team in baseball to pay its vendor/contracting bills, coughing up the money day a full 31 days after the due date per the Philly Inquirer. Whether that's just a Bob Nutting business practice or a red flag, we can't say.
- Another old Bucco got the call - the Red Sox added utility man Chase d’Arnaud to their 25-man roster.