|The Goose is on the loose tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Jordy Mercer SS, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco LF, Jose Osuna RF, J-Bell 1B, Gosselin 2B, Stewart C & Gerrit Cole P. Stew is catching Cole; it's Chris' first back-to-back of the season. Goose is at second; we're sure Clint has some arcane bit of data to support it, tho we think alternating three guys is, to use the technical baseball term, dumb.
Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.60 ERA) vs. Amir Garrett. Cole Train will be making the 100th start of his big league career tonight. Gerrit hasn't solved the Redlegs yet; they're the only NL team he hasn't defeated. He's 0-6/5.44 in eight career outings and slashed 0-2/6.10 in two starts last season. GABP has been a tough venue for him - he's 0-3/4.55 at the Cincy ballyard. Garrett started his rookie campaign with three strong starts, a 2-1 record (including a solid 9-2 Bucco spanking on April 12th) and 1.83 ERA before the Brew Crew brought him to earth last outing, collecting 10 runs, eight hits, three homers and four walks off Amir in 3-1/3 IP. We'll see what kind of bounce-back Garrett has tonight. He will be the only lefty the Pirates face this series, a rarity of late.
|Eli's comin... (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- C Elias Diaz is on the roster now, replacing John Bormann who returned to Bradenton but remained, kinda oddly, on the 40-man roster, maybe as a little financial reward for bustin' his butt to get to Miami. The 26-year-old Diaz was hitting .305 at Indy. His downside is that in 61 PAs, he has one homer and one walk.
- Cutch has reached base safely in his last 19 games and J-Bell has reached base safely in 14 consecutive contests.
- How does Cole Train rate among Bucco starters at the 100-game mark? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cole’s 3.25 ERA is the lowest for a Pirates pitcher through his first 100 starts with the team since Zane Smith's 3.14 mark from 1990-1994. Bob Veale’s 2.73 ERA from 1962-66 remains the lowest by a Pittsburgh hurler after his first 100 starts with the team.
- When the Reds swept the Bucs in early April, they were on the crest of a 9-2 run; since that time, they're 3-11. Both squads are 11-13 entering the series.
|Fran's foot injury just won't go away (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- Fran Cervelli told the press gang that his right foot flared up Saturday on a swing-and-miss and that he expects to miss no more than a couple of days of action because of it. Chad Kuhl has a knee contusion (bruise) after taking a liner off the leg and says as of now he doesn't plan to miss a turn in the rotation. Chad is a little easier to carry as a starter while Fran may or may not end up in the same boat as Freeser.
- Buster Olney wrote in ESPN's Insider column (via MLB Trade Rumors) that with team control through 2019, Gerrit Cole could end up being the most sought-after name on the market if he were made available - and the Pirates, it was thought, were willing to listen to offers for Cole last year.
- Josh Bell's stolen base yesterday afternoon was the first swipe of his MLB career.
- As if there wasn't enough afterglow from Gift Ngoepe's tale, there's this - his article in the Player's Tribune about a boy, his dreams and his mom.
- Since the beginning of last year, 17 players have made their big league debuts with the Bucs, which is the second-most in the majors. The only team to have more players take their bow over that span is the rebuilding Reds with 20, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Lotta young 'uns on the field tonight...