You probably looked at the lineups tonight and uttered out loud—”Who the hell is that?”
No, I’m not talking about the 12th round pick with only 18 innings above Double-A starting for the Braves tonight. I’m talking about this Adam Frazier kid who’s batting lead off tonight for the Bucs? Who the hell is that? No one would know because the guy that lead the International League in batting average and slashing .367/.404/.592 in the Majors has barely played enough for Clint Hurdle to even notice him and realize that the kid deserves some playing time and routine starts. Thank God he’s starting tonight and John Jaso is not only sitting, but not leading off. Bout time, Clint.
The big news tonight is Andrew McCutchen is sitting and the plan is to him to take a break and sit for the rest of this series. I’m fine with that. Every statistical category, exit velocity, WAR, strikeout percentage, etc etc etc is all trending in the wrong direction. Sometimes, a player just needs some time off. And why not try it when running him out there every game isn’t working. Matt Joyce will start tonight in McCutchen’s place and comes into the game with a .287/.412/.553 slash line.
The Pirates will face Rob Whalen in his Major League debut tonight. The former 12th round pick from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania spent most of the season at Double-A Mississippi with a 2.49 ERA in 18 starts. Since being called up to Triple-A Gwinnett, he’s been even better with a 1.93 ERA through three starts and 18 strikeouts in 18 innings. He’s walked about 3.3 per nine innings this season so if the Pirates are patient tonight especially early on, maybe they can get Whalen to hand out a couple free passes and unravel him with the nerves going for his first start.
As for the Pirates starter tonight, guess what? It’s everyone’s favorite pitcher JEFF LOCKE! Locke will make his 19th start of the season after going to the bullpen for a bit. He actually had two scoreless outings from the pen, but finds himself back in the rotation at least for now (hurry back, Glasnow!). Locke is hated like I’ve never seen a player on Twitter be. Let’s hope he trolls some yinzers tonight and fires a solid outing against the weak Braves lineup.
Pirates North Shore Nine