Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, Elias Diaz C, Jordy Mercer SS & Gerrit Cole P. Fraze is back in the saddle while J-Bell gets a sit-down.
|Gerrit is lookin' for his mojo (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (3-5, 4.27) against Edinson Volquez (2-7, 3.79) is the opening match. Cole Train has derailed recently; as he admits, his heater is flat and his slider doesn't have any bite although the velo is fine. Some folk are tossing out the injury lifeline, although he has gone through spells before when his movement wasn't there. Whatever the case, the Bucs need their big guy to get back into the swing of things. He's 2-2/3.66 in six starts against Miami, and was 0-1/4.15 in two 2016 outings against them. Eddie V just tossed a 98-pitch no-no against the D-Backs on a gimpy ankle. It wasn't known if the MLB Pitcher-of-the-Week would be able to make this start, so that bum wheel might come into play as the game goes on. Volquez has been a "quality start" type until his last outing, which was the first he carried beyond the sixth inning this season. He's 3-0/3.79 in 10 starts against Pittsburgh but hasn't faced them since 2015 when he shut them down in a 5-1 win at Kauffman Stadium with the Royals.
- Some fallout from yesterday's loss: Johnny Barbato was optioned to Indy and Dovydas Neverauskas was called up.
- Think what you may of his tactics, Clint is a stand-up skipper: On last night's loss - "I make decisions. When they don’t work out, they’re on me. It squarely falls on me."
|Clint - the buck stops here (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- Lots of ex-Bucs facing their old mateys in this series - Eddie Volquez, Vanimal and Jeff Locke are all slated to take the hill.
- Miami is coming to town limping. 1B Justin Bour, who gave the Bucs fits during the last Marlin series, has a left ankle contusion and will be on the DL for this set. He joins Adeiny Hechavarria, Martin Prado, Wei-Yin Chen, Tom Koehler and Justin Nicolino as Fish on ice.
- This weekend finishes the 2017 season series between the clubs. The Marlins are 34-59 in Pittsburgh, and the Pirates are 9-of-11 in their most recent PNC Park games against Miami. That's offset by Big Mo: Miami is 8-3 in their last 11 games and the Bucs are on a 2-5 streak with back-to-back brutal losses. Keep an eye on Christian Yelich. He's hit safely in 11-of-12 games he's played at PNC Park (.363) with five home runs and nine RBI.