Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco LF, John Jaso RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Alen Hansen 2B, Stew C and Chad Kuhl P. Hansen gets the call at second today; Clint seems to have settled on a five-man rotation for the spot. With all the guys out for various reasons and Amore getting his R&R day (and he needs one; he's been playing through some nicks and bumps), there's not much muscle in the middle of the order.
|Stew is calling the game today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) closes the set against Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.14). Chad has been up-and-down, with his major issue being location. When he sinks his stuff down in the zone, he's fine, but when it stays up he's in trouble. His command is key; he's been a wild child with 11 walks in 19 IP so far in 2017. He's 0-1, 3.00 in one career start against the Fish, suffering his first MLB loss against them on August 20th, 2016 by a 3-1 count at PNC Park. Koehler has anchored the back end of the Fish rotation since 2012 and is generally fairly solid although he's off to a relatively slow start this season, bitten by the twin bugaboos of walks and long balls. He hasn't had much luck against Pittsburgh, going 0-4, 5.14 in five career starts.
- Andrew has reached base safely in 18 straight games and J-Bell has reached base safely in 13 straight games, going 12-for-37 with seven walks. On top of that, his defense at first has been head and shoulders above his play from last season. Per Fangraphs, his UZR/150 in 140 innings this year is 5.0; it was -32.8 in 150 frames in 2016.
|Josh is having the opposite of a sophomore jinx this month (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- This afternoon the Pirates are looking for their third sweep of the season. History says it will be a tough task - Pittsburgh hasn’t swept a three game series in Miami since September 14th-16th, 1993. On the other hand, the Pirates are on a three-game winning streak and the Fish on a four-game slide, so...
- Pittsburgh’s road trip will continue tomorrow night in Cincinnati with a four game series at Great American Ball Park