Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Josh Bell 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jordan Luplow RF, Jordy Mercer SS & Chad Kuhl P. All righty, an all-righty lineup against the lefty Wood.
|Jordan joins the show (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (3-7, 4.92) takes on Travis Wood (1-3, 6.91) in the opener. Chad is making his 21st start of the season and is still sputtering; he struck out seven in a win against the Brewers and then was chased by the Rox in his last outing (although it was his first effort in Coors, which is always a shock to a pitcher's senses). He's gone 2-3/3.96 in his 10 road starts but just 1-4/6.04 ERA in his 10 starts at PNC Park, so that's a good sign tonight tho not so promising in the long-term. Kuhl does show signs of coming around, though. He's allowed more than two earned runs just three times in his last 10 starts and is starting to get his R/L splits under control (.263 - RH, .298 LH; trust us, it's a nice bounce back after lefties clobbered him earlier in the year. He still owns an ungodly .541 slugging % v opp-siders). He's seen SD once, winning last year after giving up two runs in six frames. Wood was recently acquired from the Royals, where he went through a pretty doggo campaign (and my apologies to canines everywhere). He got just three starts (his last three outings for KC) and gave up 12 runs in 13 IP, never getting through the fifth. Travis has seen the Bucs quite a bit, with 30 appearances (15 starts) and a 6-8/4.10 slash. He hasn't started against them since 2015.
- Jordan Luplow was called up and Stephen Brault returned to Indy. Jordan's been hitting the ball well (.296/21/50 between Indianapolis & Altoona) and plays an acceptable outfield after converting from 3B. THE 23-year-old Luplow was Pittsburgh’s third round selection in the 2014 draft out of Fresno State, where he was a college teammate of the Yankees' Aaron Judge. The fourth OF'er pickings are pretty slim, so it looks like the Bucs have settled on working with a Luplow/Frazier platoon for at least the short term. With Brault's departure, the pen-bench balance is back to normal.
- The Pirates and Padres are meeting tonight for the first time this season. The two teams split the six games played in 2016, with the Bucs winning two-of-three in Pittsburgh and losing two-of-three in San Diego
- Edwin Espinal has been promoted to Indy after hitting .283/15/72 for the Curve. He's described (and lived up to the rep) as a professional hitter, his major problem in the organization being blocked by J-Bell as Double-E is thought of as a 1B-only guy.
- Austin Meadows began his rehab stint in the rookie league today after recovering from a hammy issue.