Lineup: Jordy Mercer SS, Josh Harrison 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese DH, Jose Osuna LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, Elias Diaz C, Max Moroff 2B (Chad Kuhl P). Get used to Eli catching with Fran on ice and Mad Max is getting his third MLB start.
|Chad to the bump tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02) closes out the road trip against Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82). Cool Chad will be making his 12th start of the season and it's been a bumpy ride. He's lost his last five decisions with his only win of the campaign coming on April 8th. Chad has tossed better as a road warrior, slashing 0-2/3.80 in three away starts. He's running out of time to impress and should be hearing footsteps; Jamo is working in his starting slot twirling for Indy tonight and may be back for the next spin of the rotation. Kuhl has never faced the Orioles. Wade Miley has a fair split between his 2.82 ERA and 4.08 xFIP, but that's likely due to the sinker baller's big ground ball rate (55%) and a decent amount of whiffs (eight per game). He does give up an average amount of long balls (one per game) and has a pretty high walk rate of almost five per nine, so expect his ERA to regress. It might not happen against the Pirates as the lefty is 2-2/3.11 in six starts with a teeny 1.088 WHIP against them. The Buccos did chase him after four IP and five runs last year with the other five outings coming between 2011-14 during his Snake days.
- Francisco Cervelli left last night's game after taking a foul off the mask. He had concussion-like symptoms and went on the seven-day concussion DL. Indy C Jacob Stallings , who was called up early as insurance, was added to the roster. (That's why today's cheat sheet is late; the Bucs took Amore's concussion protocol down to the wire today; ergo no lineup until his status was determined.)
- Despite three straight blown saves, Clint gave Tony Watson a vote of confidence and announced that he'll remain the closer. He added that he has a mechanical issue that they're going to work on. Tony has given up five homers in 25-1/3 IP (1.8 per nine), a problem that surfaced last year when he gave up 10 long balls in 67-2/3 frames (1.3 HR per nine). He noted that Felipe Rivero has pitched in the most high-leverage situations and the skipper wants to keep that option available. He also likes the flexibility that dark horse closer candidate Juan Nicasio allows him.
|Tony's still the one... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- Jordy Mercer has gone 25-for-59 (.424) with 10 multi-hit games since May 22nd. His 25 hits are the second-most in MLB over that time behind Atlanta’s Ender Inciarte (27).
- The two lowest opponent BAs from the bullpen belong to Rivero (.159) and Juan Nicasio (.213), while the two highest belong to Daniel Hudson (.297) and Watson (.283).
- See you in September: The Pirates and Orioles won't meet again until September 26-27th at PNC Park for another two-game set during the final homestand of the season
- After tonight's game, the Pirates start a four-game series with the Marlins to open a 10-game PNC Park stay that includes three-gamers against the Rockies (June 12-14th) and Cubs (June 16-18th). It’s the longest homestand of the year.
- Three West Virginia Power players - Trae Arbet (2B, .281, 7 HR), Ty Moore (LF, .278) and LHP Cam Vieaux (2-2, 2.26) - were named to the South Atlantic (Sally) League’s mid-season All-Star team yesterday.