Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday: Brew Crew Two, Cole v Matt Garza, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: Opening pitch is at 7:05 and the game will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. It's a free-tee night with Mrs. T pierogie shirts for the first 20,000 fans, although Mrs. T ponchos might be a more fitting giveaway for another rainy evening in Pittsburgh.

Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco LF, Fran Cervelli C, John Jaso RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Gift Ngoepe 2B & Gerrit Cole P. Damp weather must not bother Amore's foot; this is his third straight rainy-day start. Gift is today's second baseman and JJ is back in right.

Gift has been in the lineup fairly regularly of late (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50) v Matt Garza (1-0, 3.38 ). Since his Opening Day mulligan, Cole Train has been pretty effective with his record blackened by some bad luck, losing 2-1 and 1-0 decisions. Cole has given up two earned runs or less in his last four starts and pitched six innings or more in his last five. The top item on his to-do list: cut down on homers (6 in 36 IP).  Gerrit is 2-3/3.77 in seven career starts against Milwaukee and didn't face the Brew Crew last year. Garza is an 11-year vet who's trying to replace a fading fastball with more off-speed stuff. Garza's seen the Pirates plenty of times; this will be his 14th start against Pittsburgh with a slash of 3-6/4.43. He was 1-3/4.46 v the Bucs in 2016.

  • Praise the Lord! The Pirates have gone four consecutive games and 34 innings without making an error.
  • Making contact: Only Boston batters (174) have struck out fewer times than the Pirates (198). The Bucs whiffed 164 times in April, their lowest total for the first month since 2009 (161). Now if they could pick up that .269 BABIP average; it was .311 in 2016.
  • Ryan Braun had an MRI taken on his strained right arm in Milwaukee yesterday that showed no structural damage. He'll be available as a pinch hitter tonight.
Brandon's back (photo Charles LeClaire/USAT)
  • A blast from the past: RHP Brandon Cumpton tossed a little in a sim game yesterday, his first work off the hill since 2015 TJ/shoulder surgery.

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