Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Home Opener - Nova v Mike Foltynewicz, Lineup, Notes

Today: The Bucs open the home season at 1:05 against the Bravos. The contest will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. The gates open at 11 and the ceremonies start at 12:30. Oh, and dress warm. This is the first game of a three-game Atlanta set, followed by a three-pack with the Reds at PNC.

Lineup: Starling Marte CF, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch RF, Gregory Polanco LF, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy Mercer & Ivan Nova P. Marte at leadoff instead of the two hole and Bell gets to practice his OBP chops in the two hole; Clint likes Fran at the five spot. John Jaso looks like the early man left out, but it's too early to give that award out yet.

Starling starts it off today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pitchers: Ivan Nova had a great dog-days run for the Bucs and kept up the good work in the spring. The keys were early strikes and keeping the ball in the park, and he'll be counted on to do some heavy lifting for the staff this year. The righty doesn't have much history against Atlanta but did shut them out over seven innings in his only outing against them back in 2012. Mike Foltynewicz is a former Astros prospect who came over in the Evan Gattis deal and works a fastball-sinker combo, both clocked at 95, with various off-speed slider/curve/change combos to change the look. The 25-year-old was 9-5/4.31 last year, but the Bucs have had his number in the two starts he's made against them, winning both times and running up a 10.80 ERA on the youngster.

  • Pre-game fun & festivities: Andy Van Slyke will present Starling Marte with his Gold Glove and Bob Friend will be recognized for his contributions to the Pirates organization and the Pittsburgh community. And hey, a free stick-on-the-fridge magnetic Pirates schedule to boot. There will be a Pittsburgh Police Color Guard present for "God Bless America" and the "National Anthem" as sung by local recording artist Gabby Barrett. On a more somber note, there will be a moment of silence for departed Pirate exec Sally O'Leary, MLB schedule-maker Katy Feeney and Canonsburg police officer Scott Bashioum, who was killed in the line of duty. His children will collectively throw out the first pitch along with Sally McCrady, chairwoman of the PNC Foundation, who gets an "honorary" sling.
  • For the racing perogie fans, there's some news: Pizza Penny will join the gang of Bacon Burt, Cheese Chester, Jalapeno Hannah, Oliver Onion and Sauerkraut Saul.
Mr. under-the-radar Juan Nicasio (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Anthony Castrovince of Sports on Earth picks every team's under-the-radar X-Factor player who could help tide a team over during the year. For the Bucs, he selected Juan Nicasio.
  • Gift Ngoepe, Jason Rogers and Max Moroff homered as Indy rallied for a 7-4 win over the Toledo Mud Hens on Opening Night at Victory Field. Max had two hits and a walk while Elias Diaz added a pair of knocks and two RBIs. AJ Shugel got the win and Edgar Santana the save. Steven Brault started and gave up two runs in five frames of work.
  • Latest to join the $15/hour fan club: the PNC Park cleaners, who are without a contract and want their pay rate jumped from $12.37 (or less) to $15 per hour.

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