Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday: Bucs & Brew Crew, Kuhl v Jimmy Nelson, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The game starts at 7:05 to open a brief home set with the Brew Crew before spending a week out West. Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan will carry the contest, which will be followed by Zambelli fireworks, weather allowing. If you haven't booked your Friday night yet, the Bucs are dangling a $5-grandstand ticket deal for the festivities.

Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco LF, Fran Cervelli C, Jose Osuna RF, Alen Hanson 2B, Jordy Mercer SS & Chad Kuhl P. Clint scraps his usual playbook - Hanson gets back-to-back starts at second and Osuna gets the call against a righty.

Alen's back at second tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.26) opens against Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 5.34). Kuhl has the green light after taking a shot off his knee Sunday. He's been erratic as a first-year starter, with his first three outings quite workmanlike but his ERA blown up by a debacle against the Cubs. One season-long red flag has been his control; he's losing too many guys, walking nearly five batters per nine innings. Cool Chad is 1-0/2.25 in two career starts against the Brew Crew, both in 2016. Nelson has been working through some mechanic changes. Somewhat like Kuhl, he started off strong but has recently run into some bumpy highway, due mainly to location - he just can't get his sinker to sink. In his favor, Nelson got an extra day of rest thanks to a rain out and he's historically been OK against the Bucs. In 10 career starts, he slashes 5-3/3.51. Last year, he was 1-1 in four starts against Pittsburgh, but with a 5.40 ERA. He has been strong at PNC Park where he's put up a 2.96 ERA in five career starts.

  • Cutch has reached base safely in his last 23 games, dating back to 4/10.
Cutch has been nothing if not consistent so far this season (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • John Harper of the NY Daily News throws another log on the Gerrit Cole trade rumor fire.
  • Don't sleep on the Brew Crew. The Brewers are 15-14 and have scored 57 runs in their past nine games. Milwaukee leads the majors in long balls as Eric Thames (11), Ryan Braun (7) and Travis Shaw (6) have already lost 24 horsehides while the Pirates as a team have hit just 25 dingers.
  • This will be Jared Hughes first return to PNC Park in a different uniform and ditto for Neftali Feliz. Rob Scahill & Keon Broxton will also get to catch up with old acquaintances.
  • Indy IF Chris Bostick's 15-game hitting streak is the longest by a Tribe player since Chris Dickerson's 16-gamer in 2014.
  • Altoona's 2B Kevin Kramer has reached base in all 22 games he's played this season. More good news from the Curve: LHP Bradon Waddell, just off the DL, worked through his three scheduled frames and gave up no hits while serving up six whiffs and three grounders.

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