Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco LF, Fran Cervelli C, John Jaso RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Alen Hanson 2B and Gerrit Cole P. It's hard losing Fraze at the top of the order; J-Hay hits lefties well but is batting .243 v righties. The middle is softer too with Freeser starting the day on the bench.
|Alen Hanson sighting! (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (1-2, 4.70) goes against Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 6.19) in an early rematch. Cole Train has been looking sharper as the season goes on and is ache-free, so it's a good start so far. He's 9-2/3.00 in 12 career starts v the Cubbies. This year against Chicago, Cole Train has already taken a 4-2 decision over Hendricks at Wrigley Field. Hendricks was kryptonite to the Pirates last year but he was chased after fifteen outs and charged with all four runs in his head-to-head with Gerrit earlier in the season, taking a 4-2 loss. His primary concern is loss of velocity on his fastball; it makes his bread-and-butter changeup less effective. But the Cubs have been mashing lately and the Pirates have dropped 5-of-7, so it will be a challenge for Cole as he looks to get Pittsburgh back on track tonight.
- Josh Bell has a seven-game hitting streak.
|J-Bell has been swinging a hot stick (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- Nice move last night - Clint took out the first ball tossed by Dovydas Neverauskas both as a keepsake for Dovy and as a historic horsehide delivered by the first Lithuanian-born MLB player. Neverauskas also became the 140th Altoona Curve (the club began in 1999) alum to reach the majors.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball has a profile of Dovy, his stuff and his MLB projection.
- The Pirates elected to shore up the bullpen and go short-handed on the bench when Fraze went on the DL. The cavalry consists of John Jaso/Jose Osuna (RF platoon), Phil Gosselin, Alen Hanson, and Stew.