Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Jose Osuna 1B, Sean Rodriguez RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Fran Cervelli C & Chad Kuhl P. J-Bell and Gregory are sitting against the southpaw Boyd tho he doesn't have a split differential. Bell has a 30-point spread and so is a good candidate to sit, as Joey O hits lefties pretty well. Gregory is pretty equal opportunity, so he's a bit of a surprise; he hits LHP at a .253 clip. S-Rod's not a noted lefty basher, so maybe it's more of a rest day thing.
|Chad looks to keep on building (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (4-7, 4.53) takes on LHP Matthew Boyd (5-5, 5.35). Chad will be making his 23rd start of the campaign tonight, and his last outing was the best yet. He spun seven innings of a 6-0 victory over the Reds at PNC Park Thursday night , giving up four hits and fanning six. After a rocky start, Kuhl has gone 2-1/2.71 in his last seven appearances and has allowed more than two earned runs just three times in his last 12 starts. There's a lot to like about second-half performance - his velocity has stayed up, he's dealing with lefties much better and hasn't allowed a homer since July 1st. Command is still a work in progress, though - he still sometimes gets too deep in counts and walks can bite him. Cool Chad has never faced the Tigers. Matthew Boyd (5-5, 5.35) is looking for his fourth straight decision since returning from Triple-A Toledo. But that has a lot to do with the Tigers supporting him at the dish. Boyd is 3-0/4.56 in those four starts and has allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last 11 starts. Still, the lefty doesn't have any glaring splits other than having a bit of an issue keeping righties in the park and three of the four recent outings have been quality starts, so he keeps Detroit in the game. This will be the first time he's tackled the Pirates.
- Juan Nicasio leads all MLB pitchers with 56 appearances; that's also his personal high mark for outings.
- Joey O is batting .303 against left-handed pitchers and has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 starts. Osuna has gone 14-of-40 (.350) in the past month.
- It's been a real roller coaster ride lately - the Bucs have won four of their last five games after losing six-of-seven.
- Two Pirates, Gregory Polanco and Fran Cervelli, have switched player agencies (but not their rep) when agent Rafa Nieves moved from Beverly Hills Sports Council to the Wasserman Media Group per ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Shouldn't have much effect, at least in the foreseeable future. Not only is their agent the same, but both guys are signed for awhile - Cervy through 2019 and Gregory through 2023 if all his options are exercised.