Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Adam Frazier 2B, Cutch CF. Josh Bell DH, Josh Harrison 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Jordy Mercer SS, John Jaso 1B, Fran Cervelli C (Ivan Nova P). Even with a DH, Freeser gets a day off' likely don't want to night-day him. Nice to see Fraze back in the lineup, but we wonder how badly he must play third that they have to move J-Hay there instead of just making one simple switch.
|Ivan looking to keep it in the park tonight (photo via MLB.com)|
Pitchers: Ivan Nova (10-8, 3.66) has his work cut out against Justin Verlander (7-7, 4.20) Super Nova be making his 23rd start of the season and is trying to get over the hump. He's 3-4/5.21 in his last eight outings with the longball biting him, surrendering 11 homers in 44-2/3 IP. He's gone at least six innings in just four of his last seven starts starts, so the rotation is hoping for Ivan to catch a second wind. Nova is 0-2 /6.66 in five career appearances (four starts) against Motown. They were all as a Yankee, and he hasn't tossed against them since 2013. Verlander has been rounding into shape; in his last six games, he's 2-2/2.31 with 44 K in 39 IP. He also may be auditioning; he's got a big contract and the Astros are said to be interested in him, sooo... He's 4-2/4.15 against the Pirates after seven career starts. The Buccos chased him early in 2014 and 2016; he was tough on them in 2015, so not a lot to go on other than he can be had...or not
- Starling is making his 21st straight start since returning from his suspension.
- The Pirates have gone 4-1 in their last five games played at Comerica Park. They split the two games played here last year and swept a three-game series in 2015.
- Hand in glove: Pittsburgh’s starting staff has posted a 2.27 ERA in its last seven games (5-2). During that span the team has also been charged with just two errors in 270 total chances.
- Hey, guess who started at first base yesterday? Yep, none other than ex-Bucco & current Met Neil Walker, trying to save his back from the rigors of the middle infield. It was a move that was tossed about in his Pirates days but never came to pass.