Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday: Cubs Come to Town, Kuhl v Brett Anderson, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Cubs come to town after being swept in the first meeting at Wrigley. The game starts at 7:05 and will be carried by Root Sports, ESPN, and 93.7 The Fan. Interesting race in the Central - the Cubs are first at 10-8, the Bucs last at 8-10. The five teams are separated by two games as mediocrity seems to be the April MO.

Lefty on the hill, Jordy at leadoff (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Lineup: Jordy Mercer SS, J-Hay 2B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco LF, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Jose Osuna RF, J-Bell, 1B and Chad Kuhl P. Lefty up, Fraze down. Seems like the Bucs want to give Osuna a good look; he's only hitting .100 with 10 at-bats but has been making fairly solid contact, so he's not overmatched...we'll see after the league has a book on him.

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.60) opens against Brett Anderson (1-0, 4.40). The 24-year-old Kuhl is coming off a 2-1 loss to the Cards, but has been eye-opening effective during April. He'll be making his fourth start of the season and the 18th of his nascent MLB career. Caveat emptor: the Cubs treated him rudely last year when Cool Chad slashed 0-2/10.45 in two starts. Anderson, a 29-year-old FA signed by the Cubs, had a couple of good starts to open the season and then suffered a beatdown by the Brew Crew. Same trend against the Pirates: he shut them down in two 2014 starts, then was clocked in his outing against them as a Dodger last year (albeit after a long layoff due to disc surgery). Still, he's a lefty and the Bucs have had problems squaring them up so far this season.

Chad's been up to the task so far (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • Ken Davidoff of the NY Post has a piece on how Ivan Nova has found a comfort zone in Pittsburgh that was missing in the Big Apple.
  • Odd weekend - Saturday was the first game that the Pirates lost when scoring four or more runs; Sunday was the first they won when scoring fewer than four.
  • More odd stuff - Ivan Nova's 154-batter string of not issuing a walk ended when he ran the count full before losing an AL rookie pitcher in his first MLB at-bat. In fact, Yankee puppy Jordan Montgomery never even drew a minor-league free pass because he never had a plate appearance (in the upper minors, only NL-affiliated clubs playing one another bat their pitchers; lower levels use a DH). Not too surprisingly, Jordan never offered at a pitch. He K'ed on four pitches the next time he was up.
  • Allegheny Andrew: Cutch is the all-time leader in homers (84) and RBI (321) at PNC Park.
  • Road trip: Beginning Friday against Miami, the Bucs are scheduled to play 14-of-17 games on the road.
JaCoby dodged a bullet over the weekend (photo
  • Detroit OF'er JaCoby Jones, an ex-Bucco traded to the Tigers for Joachim Soria, was placed on the 10-day DL with a left lip laceration after being hit in the face by a fastball Saturday. He had concussion/fracture worries, but escaped with nine stitches, his teeth, and a king-size headache.

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