Lineup (with nickname): Starling Marte LF (Tato), Josh Harrison 2B (J-Hay), Andrew McCutchen CF (Cutch), Josh Bell 1B (JB), David Freese 3B (Davehuman), Adam Frazier RF (Fraz), Jordy Mercer SS (The Rook), Chris Stewart C (Stew), Ivan Nova P (Super Nova). The little leaguers get to see the Pirates A-Team, as it stands today.
|Ivan's looking for another strong start (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Pitchers: Ivan Nova (10-10, 3.77) closes out the set against Mike Leake (7-11, 3.88). Ivan tossed it pretty well against last time out, so hopefully he's catching a second wind after taking on water for a long stretch. But he's lost his last four decisions and hasn't won a game since July 18th. He's faced the Redbirds once, throwing 78 pitches in a complete game, but losing 2-1 to Lance Lynn in April at Busch Stadium. Leake is going through a rough period. He's 1-5/6.39 in his last eight starts with a .371 oppo BA (thx to an unlucky .404 BABIP) and was toasted in his last outing. Leake beat the Bucs in April 2-1 and has two no-decisions since then in an 8-4 Redbird win and a 5-2 Bucco victory. We've got a pair of vet workhorse guys trying to toss their way out of a summer doldrum as tonight's feature at Williamsport.
- Both teams can add a 26th man (position player) for today's MLB Little League Classic. The Bucs reportedly brought up C Jacob Stallings while the Cards added OF Stephen Piscotty.
- Both teams will be sporting little-league themed jerseys with nicknames on the back nameplate; good luck in figuring some of them out.
- This is the first home game played by the Pirates at a neutral site since September 22nd, 1890, when they played the New York Giants in Wheeling, West Virginia (they also moved a game to Canton, Ohio). That club was one of the worst ever put on the field; they shifted nearly 30 home games to opponents fields because they couldn't attract anyone to watch them play at Exposition Park.
|Max returning to his Little League roots (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
- Lots of Pittsburgh links to Williamsport: Bowman Field is the home of the Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League, which was a Pirates farm club from 1954-56 and again from 1999-2006. Cutch played for the Crosscutters for 13 games in 2005, and would eventually become the first C-Cutter to win a MVP Award. Jordy Mercer made his first professional appearance at Bowman Field while playing for the State College Spikes in 2008. Bucco manager Clint Hurdle met his wife, Karla, while he was serving as the manager of the Williamsport Bills in the New York Mets’ farm system during the 1991 campaign and coach Tom Prince managed two seasons in Williamsport (2005-06), taking the ‘Cutters to the playoffs in his first season. Max Moroff played there as a lad in the LLWS and Maz made his pro debut with Williamsport in 1954.