Lineup: Max Moroff 2B, Josh Harrison LF, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Jose Osuna RF, Josh Bell 1B, Elias Diaz C, Jordy Mercer SS & Ivan Nova P. A night for the young guns. Our only question: What happened to red-hot Jordy and his LHP mojo? He has a .290 lifetime average against lefties but is batting eighth tonight because he's got a .140 BA v southpaws this year.
|Joey O gets the start in right tonight (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates)|
Pitchers: Ivan Nova (7-5, 3.06) faces Blake Snell (0-4, 4.71). Ivan's been the steadiest Bucco on the bump this year, winning four of his last six decisions and six of his last nine. He's also been a boon to the bullpen, going at least six innings in each of his first 15 starts, while allowing more than three earned runs in just three of those outings starts. Nova has been especially strong at home with a 5-2/2.53 slash in seven PNC starts this season. He's not been especially stellar v Tampa Bay, going 8-7, 3.95 ERA in 18 career games against his old AL division foes. He made his final start as a NYY against them and didn't make it through the fifth, giving up five runs in 4-1/3 IP. The lefty Snell made the Tampa's opening day roster but was optioned to AAA Durham in May where he regained his mojo, going 5-0/2.66. The 24-year-old will be looking for his first win in the majors since he beat the Yankees last September. His big issue is length; the guy has problems working past the fifth inning, so the Bucs have a shot at getting into the Ray's bullpen early. Snell has never tossed against Pittsburgh.
- Between knocks, walks, and bops, J-Hay has a .444 OBP in his last eight games.
- There was a spell when the Bucs saw a never-ending parade of southpaws, but that's flipped. The Pirates are facing a left-handed starter tonight in Blake Snell for the first time since June 12th and for just the fifth time in 40 games since May 16th.
- For the second time this season, the Pirates have opted to go with an eight-man bullpen and shorten the bench by a player when they swapped out C Jacob Stallings for LHP Antonio Bastardo.
- Altoona's 2B Kevin Kramer (.297), 3B Wyatt Mathisen (.290), OF Jordan Luplow (.291, 16 HR), RHP Alex McRae (6-3, 3.58) & RHP Montana DuRapau (2-2-11, 1.38) were named to the Eastern League All-Star team.
- Mark the Shark, who recently came off the DL for the Giants, is back on it with the same elbow ouchie, a right pronator strain.