Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday - Bucs Close Out Homestand Against Cubs, JT v John Lackey, Lineup, Notes

Today: The contest begins at 1:35, aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. Kids ages 14 & younger and their dads (it is Fathers Day, after all) get a replica Military Cap for the Sunday giveaway.

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, Josh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Elias Diaz C, Jordy Mercer SS & Jameson Taillon P. Stew's back but Eli gets the Sunday call as maybe a parting gift; otherwise the A-Team as Clint spurns the usual Sunday lineup for a second week.

Jamo on the bump (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90) closes it out against John Lackey (4-7, 5.26). The 25-year-old Jamo will be making his eighth start of the season and his second since cancer treatment without missing a beat. He went five scoreless frames in his first turn back tho he did have to dodge a few raindrops in dropping the Rox. JT was 2-1/2.65 ERA in 2016 against Chicago in three starts. Lackey is having a tough year after cobbling together a strong 2016 campaign. He's struggled in the first inning (11 runs in 13 IP) and given up homers (2.23 per nine) by the bushel. In Lackey's last six starts, he's gone 1-4/6.48. It could be that Father Time has finally caught up to the 38-year-old, 15-year vet. Against Pittsburgh, he's 2-2/3.48 lifetime in seven starts and in 2016 Lackey was 1-0 in two starts. But his ERA was 4.91 with a WHIP over 1.5 as he was lit up in one match and tossed pretty well in the other.

Notes:
  • Felipe is off today; Juan Nicasio's status is TBD - could be a five man pen today with Huddy, Wade,  Jhan Marinez, Tony and Edgar Santana.
  • Cutch has an eight-game hitting streak.
  • He's back...Chris Stewart has been reinstated from the DL and Jacob Stallings has been optioned back to Indy.
  • Josh Bell has banged 26 extra-base hits so far this season. The last Pirates rookie with 26 extra-base hits prior to the All-Star break was Johnny Ray in 1982. Since 1933, only four Pittsburgh rookies have had 27 or more extra-base hits prior to the break - Dale Long (29 in 1955), Richie Hebner (28 in 1969), Lee Walls (28 in 1956) and Ralph Kiner (27 in 1946).
  • Buster Olney of ESPN thinks J-Hay could end up one of the major All-Star snubs this year.
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