Pitchers: Jon Niese (6-2, 3.93) and Mike Leake (4-4, 4.22) hook up to finish the set. Jon has been rollin', piling up six straight starts with two or fewer runs allowed. He's got the ground ball mojo working like a charm and generally keeping the ball in the yard, his two keys to success. He started an eventual Bucco win in April, lasting just five frames. But he's been more than solid against the Redbirds in his career with a 4-3/3.45 slash in 10 starts. Leake had tossed five straight strong outings before running into a bump against the Reds in his last appearance. He's 8-4/3.16 in his lifetime against the Pirates and had won seven in a row against the Pirates until Pittsburgh whipped him 5-1 in early April, chasing him in the fifth.
|Jon Niese looks to salvage a game against the Cards (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: JJ 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory RF, Freeser 3B, Starling LF, Josh 2B, Jordy SS, Erik Kratz, Niese P. Hopin' Erik is a quick learner; po' guy was tossed into the fire pretty quickly with no knowledge of the Pirates pitchers or for that matter, Card hitters.
- Erik Krantz is a former Bucco who caught just nine games in 2010. The only current player left from that team is Cutch.
- The Cards are pretty a good road show club. They're 19-12 away from SL this year, and have won 4-of-5 on this current road trip.
- The Texas Rangers released 1B Ike Davis.
- BTW, you might want to add OF Adam Frazier to your list of guys at Indy who may help sooner rather than later. He showed well in camp, can play multiple positions and is leading the International League in hitting at .341 with a sizzling month at the dish.