Saturday, August 5, 2017

Busy Saturday: SD and Pittsburgh, Cole Train v Dinelson Lamet, Lineup, Notes (S-Rod Returns, Kontos Claimed, LeBlanc Back, Jhan Gone)

Tonight: San Diego and the Bucs get it on at 7:05. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan. Saturday night is free tee night first 20,000 fans.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Adam Frazier 2B, Cutch CF, J-Bell 1B, Josh Harrison 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer & Gerrit Cole P. Freeser gets a blow and J-Hay drops to fifth; we always liked him in the five/six hole.

Cole's on a roll (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (9-7, 3.97) tackles Dinelson Lamet (5-4, 5.62) tonight. Cole Train has been feeling it lately with five straight wins and a line of 6-1/2.83 over his last nine starts. He's only won twice at PNC Park this year, so he's due. Gerrit is 4-1/1.47 in five career starts against the Padres. In his last outing, he won a 7-1 decision at Petco Park on Sunday. Rookie Lamet may be coming of age (ignore the ERA; his xFIP is 3.88, so he's been a little unlucky). His last two games have been solid, and he's beginning to keep the ball in the yard, a big issue for him as he gives up 1.7 bombs per nine. And it does matter - San Diego has won four of the last six games he's pitched; Lamet has given up no homers in the four victories and three in the two losses. He's coming off a 4-2 win against the Bucs on Saturday, giving up two runs, two hits and K'ing seven in six IP, using his slider often and well

Notes:
  • The Pirates have brought back Sean Rodriguez by sending Connor Joe to the Braves. S-Rod is playing now, but missed most the year with a shoulder injury suffered in a pre-season car crash. It shows; he's hitting just .167 w/19 K in 47 PA. He was the Bucco glue man last year, playing everywhere competently while hitting .270 w/18 HR and was a popular guy in the clubhouse & among fans. Sean is signed through next year for $5.75M. A spot on the active roster will need cleared when he reports. Connor Joe, 24, was a 2014 sandwich pick (39th overall) and is a man without a position (1B, 3B, OF) and hit .240 at Altoona. 
He's back.... 2016 Topps Now
  • The Pirates also claimed reliever George Kontos (0-5, 3.83 in 50 games) from SF. Kontos, 32, has an arb year remaining and so is under team control through 2018. The righty is 15-14/3.05 over his seven MLB campaigns with 307 appearances under his belt. Another move will be necessary when he arrives to clear a spot on the 25-man roster. Oddly, it's a straight claim; the G-Men didn't pull him off waivers to work out a deal which is the usual MO.
  • Wade LeBlanc is back from the bereavement list. The team DFA'ed Jhan Marinez to make active roster room for Wade's return and clear a 40-man spot for one of the newcomers; OF Danny Ortiz was also DFA'ed to create a roster spot on the 40-man for the other.
  • Freeser has reached base safely in 14 straight starts, going 20-for-51 (.392) with seven walks and two HBP for a .483 OBP.
  • Ya wonder why wins are an often overrated stat - yesterday, the scorer had to decide whether Joaquin Benoit, who gave up a homer and left the game with the bases loaded, or AJ Schugel, who faced two batters and walked in a run, should get the W. It went to Schugs. 
  • Do fans make a difference? The Sporting News looks at two SD homers last night that the fans were involved in, one causing a painful ricochet and the other grabbing a ball that probably was in play.
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