Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pirates & Phils - Vince Velasquez v Ivan Nova, Lineup, Notes

Today: The Philadelphia game is a late afternoon affair, with the first pitch from PNC Park slated for 4:05. Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan will air the game. The first 20,000 fans will get the coveted Bob Walk chair-fail bobblehead.

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, J-Hay 2B, Cutch CF, J-Bell 1B, Freeser 3B, John Jaso RF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS and Ivan Nova P. FWIW, this is the A-Team lineup.

Ivan on the bump (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.48) takes the hill opposite Vince Velasquez (2-3, 5.63). Nova has been just workmanlike in his past three starts, and one thing to watch for is that he's given up three dingers in his past two outings, an issue during his Yankee days. But the vet has kept the Bucs in those games and he's due as he has yet to notch a win this month. He's faced off against the Brotherly Love nine once in 2015 and again last year, giving up one earned run (two overall) in 12-2/3 IP. Velasquez uses a lot of pitches - he averages a K per inning and also issues four free passes per nine - and has given up eight long balls in 38 IP. But since mid-April, he's only had one game that's gotten out of hand, so Vince is pretty much a "quality start" sort of guy who doesn't overwhelm so much as hangs around. VV tossed against Pittsburgh once, and that was last year. He gave up four runs in six frames, hurt by walks and a homer.

  • Ivan Nova has gone six innings or more in all eight of his starts, a godsend to a bullpen that's faced a couple of long stretches of non-stop games and been called to work early and often to bail out the back end of the rotation.
Fraze & J-Hay have been providing some giddy-up at the top of the order.
(photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • In 12 games the leadoff batter, Adam Frazier is hitting .382 with seven RBI and eight runs scored. J-Hay has been penciled in 19 times at the top the order and is hitting .286 with nine RBI and 10 runs. All in all, the leadoff spot has been a pleasant surprise, with the #1 batters slashing .281/.335/.416 with 20 RBI and 25 runs scored. That's the top spot for runs scored (as intended) but is also second for chasing runners home. Unfortunately, the heart of the order (2-3-4) is hitting just .225 behind them.
  • BTW, Milwaukee leads the NL Central with a 25-16 slate, 6-1/2 games ahead of last-place Pittsburgh (18-24).
  • MLB Trade Rumor's Jeff Todd has an early list of the Top 30 Deadline Trade candidates and the Bucs have three - Cutch, Tony Watson and Freeser.
  • Gerrit Cole was on MLB Network's interview/show-and-tell program "Play Ball" this morning.
  • Bradenton SS Cole Tucker came in at #4 on this week's Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.

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