Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday: Opening Day - Cole v Rick Porcello, Lineup, Notes

Today's Game: The Pirates open the 2017 season against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The first pitch is slated for 2:05 and the game will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Starling Marte CF, Cutch RF, Gregory Polanco DH, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Josh Bell 1B, J-Hay 2B, and Jordy Mercer SS (Gerrit Cole P). Starling stays in the two-hole; we'll see if that becomes a thing as theoretically the position should provide him with more chances to generate runs. The Bucs took advantage of a the opportunity to keep Fraze at leadoff and baby Gregory's tender wing thx to the DH and a RHP on the hill. Finally, it's our first chance to see if Cutch and Starling can play nice in the pasture; Andrew will have to fight the urge to call every ball now that he's a corner guy.

Adam Frazier will kick off the Bucs 2017 campaign (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole takes on Rick Porcello. Cole Train was never physically right in 2016, and his slash of 7-10/3.88 showed it. Gerrit's only outing against the Bosox was in 2014, a game he won 3-2. He's been 100% at camp and earned his first Opening Day nod. Needless to add, his return to form is key for Pirates success this year. Porcello was the Bosox ace and AL Cy Young winner in 2016, going 22-4/3.15 with a WHIP of 1.009. He's 2-0 in three starts against Pittsburgh, giving up one run on 10 hits in his 23 IP for an ERA of 0.39. It's safe to say that he's had the Pirates number. But neither hurler has ever faced their opponent at Fenway; the other games were at PNC Park, so they're moving from a neutral offensive park to a shooting gallery.

Fenway awaits 2017's first pitch... (photo Root Sports)

  • This is the first time that the Pirates have opened a season against an AL team. It's also the first time they've visited Fenway since 2005 when they dropped 2-of-3 games. Boston was 93-69 last year and won the Eastern Division, Pittsburgh's interleague match-up gang this year, by four games. The Buccos also battle Detroit, its league-designated rival.
  • As noted by Bucco announcer Joe Block, today is the first MLB Opening Day for Josh Bell, Adam Frazier, Alen Hanson, Tyler Glasnow, Chad Kuhl, Jameson Taillon, and Trevor Williams. All seven have seen time in the show so maybe that will help calm the butterflies...or not.
  • Rough left coast start for The Shark. He had two outs, bases empty and a 5-4 lead in the ninth before giving up four straight hits to earn a blown save/loss to the D-Backs in his first SF Giant outing yesterday. Mark has been a slow starter the past couple of campaigns and looks like he's in the same mode now.
  • Jennifer Langosch of reported that Yadier Molina inked a three year/$60M extension with the Cards, carrying him through his age 37 season and making him the highest-paid catcher in baseball. Guess time will tell if it's a good decision or not (Viva El Birdo's projection has him worth the bucks), especially with highly touted C prospect Carson Kelly treading water in AAA. On a side note, Yadi became the first player to get intentionally walked with a wave of the ball last night in the Cards 4-3 win over the Cubs.

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