|Jordy draws the leadoff assignment (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Lineup: Jordy Mercer SS, Starling Marte CF, Cutch RF, Gregory Polanco LF, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Josh Harrison 2B, Josh Bell 1B & Adam Frazier DH (Jameson Taillon P). Jordy at leadoff isn't a surprise; he's always batted high against southpaws. Makes sense to have Bell lower in the lineup as he hasn't fared very well v LHP. Fraze had a big reverse split, hitting lefties well last year, but in a very sample (24 AB - .417 AB). And it is nice to see Gregory in the field, tho we thought the weather (40 degrees) and DH combo would give Frazier (who is listed on the Pirates depth chart as the fourth OF'er) the start. So that's an indication that El Coffee is 100%.
Pitchers: Jameson Taillon goes for the Bucs against Chris Sale. JT will try to build off a strong (5-4, 3.38) freshman campaign but being planted in the two hole of the rotation is a large move for a youngster with just 18 MLB starts. JT is part of a truly home-grown staff; four of the five 2017 starters (Ivan Nova is the only import) were drafted and came up through the Bucco system. Sale was a big off-season pick-up by Boston; the former White Sox ace was 17-10/3.38 last season and has five consecutive All-Star appearances. Neither pitcher has ever faced their opponent.
|JT climbs the hill tonight (photo: Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- Boston loves the NL; they've won 15 of the last 17 interleague clashes.
- The Bucs farm crop is in full bloom tonight - seven of the ten players in the lineup were drafted/signed by the Bucs and came through the Pittsburgh system; only Freeser, Fran and J-Hay were plucked from other orgs.
- Fangraphs looks like it's running a Bucco edition - David Laurila has a piece on Taillon and Searage; Craig Edwards posted on Gerrit Cole's AWOL Slider; Alex Chamberlain wrote up a story on Josh Bell and the Opposite Field and Travis Sawchuck is right on time with his article on The Embattled Shift.
- As a follow-up to yesterday's note on the minor-league rosters, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has a list of where the Bucs Top 30 Prospects are now rostered.
- JaCoby Jones, who the Bucs traded to Detroit for Joakim Soria at the 2015 deadline, not only won a starting job but homered in his first MLB Opening Day at-bat off White Sox ace and alleged Pirates wish-lister Jose Quintana yesterday. JJ also swiped a sack in the Tiger's 6-3 win. A bigger shocker was Gorkys Hernandez driving in four runs for the Giants in their 8-3 win over Arizona; he had never chased home more than two tallies before, and it was just his fourth lifetime multi-RBI game.
- Nice piece by Tim Healy of the Sun-Sentinel on old Indy manager Dean Traynor who made the show as the Marlins as bullpen coach this season.
- John Dreker of Pirates Prospects tweeted that the Pirates #1 pick of 2007, LHP Daniel Moskos, has signed with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the indie Atlantic League.