Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Josh Bell 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, Cutch CF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Chad Kuhl P. Andrew is back although in a different spot, and El Coffee returns to action at cleanup. It's a pretty solid lineup although the middle of the order has been problematic all year for the Pirates, so we'll see how it goes.
|Chad heads to the bump tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85) opens against Jacob deGrom (3-1, 3.56)Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74). The 24-year-old Kuhl will be making his 10th start of the season and is coming off perhaps his best performance of the year, shutting out the Phils on one hit for five innings w/o getting a decision. in fact, Cool Chad hasn't won a game since April 8th. On the plus side, he has picked up his velocity a bit and hasn't missed a start. The Pirates young staff has to learn to limit damage and get into the seventh inning, so we've been seeing growing pains not just with Chad but with the gang. He's never faced the Metropolitans, so add another page to his book. deGrom has been off since the 19th with a blister, so he got a couple of extra recovery days. The blister didn't seem to bother him in that outing against the Angels as he tossed seven zippo innings, giving up four hits and fanning nine on 106 pitches. That start broke up a streak of five games where he gave up three or more runs, so we'll see if the LAA contest was an outlier or if he's heating up. One thing for sure is that he can still miss bats with 12+ K per nine innings. deGrom dropped a pair of starts to the Bucs last year though he had solid enough outings, losing 3-1 and 4-0.
- Quick preview: The Mets are 3-3 since snapping out of a seven-game losing string, have a boatload of injuries and apparently aren't sharing their sandbox with one another very well. The Bucs are 8-4 in their last dozen matches, so ol' Mo looks to be on Pittsburgh's side. Still, the Steel City nine were 3-3 against the NYM last year in a pretty tight series, so it should be an interesting set coming up. One sort of odd stat to watch: the Pirates have lost game #1 in their last five series.
|Jordy's stick is coming around (image Positively Pittsburgh)|
- Josh Harrison has cranked out three straight multi-hit games and has a seven-game hitting streak (12-for-31) while Jordy Mercer has put together four straight multi-hit contests, going 9-for-17 with a double, two home runs and six RBI.
- Fran Cervelli is committed to restoring a semblance of the good life to his Venezuelan people, as he explains in his post on The Players Tribune.
- deGrom was scheduled to go last night for New York but a gloomy forecast (they did get the game in, losing 4-3 to the Padres) pushed him back another day. No rain is expected during tonight's game.
- The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame unveiled a bronze statue of the 1955 NL Rookie of the Year and 1960 Bucco World Champion CF'er Bill Virdon on its Legends Walkway yesterday.