Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday: Pirates at Phillies, Nova v Aaron Nola, Lineup (Cervy's Back), Notes (Cutch POTM)

Tonight: Pittsburgh visits Philadelphia with the Citizen Bank Park opening toss at 7:05 PM. The game will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. The Bucs have dropped 5-of-7; Philly has  split their last 10 matches.

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Ivan Nova P. Clint has decided to go back to the A-Team lineup tonight.

The one constant in the Pirates rotation... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Ivan Nova (8-5, 3.08) takes on Aaron Nola (5-5, 4.13).  The Bucco glue man has won five of his last seven decisions and seven of his last ten. Ivan has been solid on the road, slashing 2-3/3.49 in eight away starts. He's been effective against the Brotherly Love crew, with a lifetime 2-0, 1.80 line in three outings. Nova won a 6-3 decision at PNC Park in May and last year struck out 11 while giving up two runs (one earned) in a no-decision at Philly. Nola is 24 and has been inconsistent, but in his last two games he's given up just three runs on nine hits in 14-1/3 IP with 17 K and dropped his ERA by nearly a run in June. Nola has pitched better on the road than at home, so that's a plus, and he does have a noticeable platoon split (.281 BA/128 OPS+ v LH, .224 BA/75 OPS+ v RH). He's lost both career starts against the Pirates, getting pretty well beat up last year but going seven strong frames earlier this season, giving up a run on four hits while fanning five.

  • Well, of course...Cutch was named the Player of the Month for June. He hit .411 with six home runs/23 RBI and led all NL players in batting, OPS (1.193) and OBP (.505) while ranking sixth in RBI. Andrew has taken home Player-of-the-Month honors four times (June and July 2012, June 2014 & August 2015) prior to today. The only other players in Pirates history to win the award four times are Willie Stargell and Dave Parker, leaving Cutch as the franchise leader.
  • The Pirates have reinstated Fran Cervelli from the DL and optioned RHP Edgar Santana to Indy. Here's hoping Amore is ready, but just in case the Bucs are back in three-catcher mode once again.
He's back (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • J-Hay's bona-fides as an All-Star are pretty solid. He's slashing .288/.368/.447 with nine home runs, 35 runs scored, 27 RBIs and 10 steals, has a 2.3 WAR (second among NL 2B) and a plus UZR at second, third and the outfield.
  • Cutch is noted for hot Junes, but he's no slouch in July, either. His 117 career RBI this month are tied with Matt Kemp for the most by a NL player since 2009 and he's second with 34 homers. His lifetime July slash is .298/.374/.520.
  • Jordy enters today with the third-highest OPS (.761) among all NL shortstops, ranking him best of the rest behind All-Stars Zack Cozart (.968) and Corey Seager (.926).
  • The Pirates took two-of-three from their cross-state rivals at PNC Park in May. The Bucs posted a 2-2 record in Philly last season and are 10-6 at Citizen Bank Park since 2013. Beginning tonight the Pirates are scheduled to play 16 of their next 23 games on the road. That stretch before and after the ASG should determine the buy/sell course of the campaign.
  • Altoona 1B Edwin Espinal (.286 BA, 50 RBI) has been added to the 2017 Eastern League All-Star Game, the sixth member of the Curve to be honored.

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