Friday, May 19, 2017

Bucs Host Phils, Williams v Jeremy Hellickson, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Bucs home stand continues with the Phils coming to PNC Park for a  7:05 match. The game will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. If you're thinking of going, it's supposed to be a nice evening and it's a Zambelli fireworks night to boot, so...

Lineup: Josh Harrison, 2B, J-Bell 1B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Jose Osuna RF, Danny Ortiz LF, Jordy Mercer SS and Trevor Williams P. Hey, a new second baseman...oh, wait. We're assuming this is a pre-determined rest day for the red-hot Fraze after starting five straight; at least we hope so. Maybe even more surprising is that JJ got a day off after three consecutive starts. Change is the only constant...

Trevor is on the bump (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates) 

Pitchers: Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41) v Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.71). Trevor will be making his third start of the campaign as JT's replacement. He was treated rudely in his first go, but after a bumpy inning or two his last time out, he settled in as the Bucs beat the D-Backs 4-3. Hopefully he keeps it going and gets a good jump out of the gates against Philadelphia, a team which he has never gone against. Jeremy's name has been out there as trade bait as he approaches free agency at the end of the year, and he's a solid guy. He coaxes weak contact with his bread-and-butter changeup, is stingy with walks and is a consistent, veteran mid-rotation arm. But he's had a rough May so far; in three outings, he's given up 12 runs in 13-2/3 IP and not made it into the sixth inning, so the Bucs may be catching him in a lull period. He's met the Pirates twice; last year he did a good job of shutting them down, tossing 6-1/3 IP of one-run,  three-hit ball with six K.

  • After a strong start, the Phils have returned to earth, losing 15-of-18. The yo-yo Buccos are on a little roll, taking 4-of-5. The Pirates are 33-17 all-time against the Phillies at PNC Park and are 11-4 in the last 15 games played in Pittsburgh.
  • J-Bell has a six game hitting streak with four homers during that stretch.
  • Danny Ortiz got his first MLB hit yesterday and will make his first big-league start tonight.
Big day for Danny Ortiz (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • Pretty quick payback: J-Bell got his first-ever crack at batting cleanup yesterday and made Clint look good by becoming the first Pirates player since 1900 to homer in the first inning of his first major-league start in the number-four slot per Elias Says.
  • The Pirates are playing their 42nd game - Cutch has started 41 of them and Jordy 40.
  • Tony Watson will be a FA at the end of the year and decided to switch agents for his coming-out party by hiring Scott Boras, per Steve Adams of MLB Trade  Rumors.
  • In The Daily Gammons, Peter Gammons offers a pretty compelling reality check argument for Cole Train to be dealt.


michael kaczmarek said...

Ron this lineup makes no sense at all. Taking Frazier out of lead off spot tonight for what reason??? The guy is red hot so let's sit him down?? Bell out of 4 hole??? Freezer should be 5, Cervelli 6...... Time to call Clint out on this ridiculous stuff don't you agree?

Ron Ieraci said...

Mike, the only thing that makes sense for Fraze sitting is if he's a little sore after being out of action for a while. The company line is that Hellickson has a 2017 reverse split (altho his career history is that he doesn't show a split; both sides hit him at about a.245 clip). As far as Bell in the two hole, it is nuts as he could slide Cervelli there easily with no matchup worries in the middle since J-Bell hits from both sides. His lineup has been a mystery to me all year; my suspicion is that Clint likes to have a set order, and when that gets disrupted (and in his defense, the season has been one bombshell after another personnel-wise) he doesn't really have a plan B but reacts on gut instinct and data scraps. I am a little curious as to how much input Joey Cora and Tom Prince have, too - they coached a lot of the pups so maybe they're pushing to make sure they all get some time. And that's offered purely as speculation; I have no inside knowledge of that.