Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday: Phil Series Finale, Cool Chad v Aaron Nola, Lineup, Notes

Today: First pitch is at 1:35 and will be carried by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. Kids 14-and-under get a Bucco mitt.

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, J-Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, John Jaso RF, Stew C, Gift SS and Gerrit Cole P. Jordy gets a well-earned day off; he and Cutch have been Bucco ironmen so far this season. Stew is in for Cervy, and all-in-all, it's a pretty solid group for a Sunday lineup.

Chad is looking to straighten up and fly right today (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (1-4, 6.69) closes the set against Aaron Nola (2-0, 5.40). Cool Chad has hit upon a string of not-very-long nor effective starts (21 runs in his last 17-2/3 IP), plagued by rain, liners off the knee and mainly by staying up in the strike zone way too much. So his mission to locate better. His velocity is top notch at 94-96 MPH, but his go-to is the sinker, and that needs to come in knee-high rather than at the belt. His ground ball rate was 44% last season; it's under 38% in 2017. There's been talk of Kuhl being better suited for the bullpen; he needs to step it up if he wants to dispel that narrative. Chad was effective in his one start against the Phils last year, giving up two runs on four hits with five whiffs in six innings. Nola is coming off a month-long visit to the DL with a cranky back after a couple of strong rehab outings in AAA. His stuff doesn't blow you away, but he mixes pitches and gets grounders by the bushel-load (54-55%) when he's right. His early stat line has bitten by some bad luck - his FIP is 3.08 and his BABIP is north of .400 - so Nola may not be ace material but he's not a guy to sleep on. either. He's seen the Bucs once when they chased him after four innings last year.

  • Fraze is en fuego. Adam has banged out back-to-back three hit games as a starter while knocking in six runs.
Juan-derful so far this season... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Juan Nicasio has spun 12 consecutive scoreless outings.
  • The Buccos are on a mini-roll, winning 5-of-7 since their six-game winless streak.
  • Following today’s contest, the Pirates head to Atlanta’s SunTrust Park for a four-game set with the Bravos. It's also the dads trip so the proud papas can watch their kids at work. Afterward, it's a six-pack at PNC v the Mets and the Snakes.
  • Indy is on fire. The Tribe beat Toledo 8-7 last night and has won seven in a row, 15 of the last 17 games, are 16-3 in May and after an icy start are five games above .500.

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