Well, well, well…Clint Hurdle must frequent the North Shore Nine after our post Monday on why the Pirates should move McCutchen from the two hole. Hurdle has finally made that move flipping Cutch and Polanco in the order. Polanco, the Pirates best hitter this season, should be batting second and honestly with the way Cutch has struggled this season, I’d probably keep moving him down in the order for now. At any rate, at least he’s out of the two hole finally.
McCutchen is having his worst season in the majors and he hasn’t homered in his past 16 games, hitting a miserable .175/.235/.206 over that 16-game stretch. Him struggling probably has nothing to do with batting second, but the fact of the matter is if you want your best hitter batting second because it makes sense with more ABs and everything, well McCutchen hasn’t been your top hitter all year so move him down.
The Bucs will face Noah Syndergaard for the second time in a week after scoring three runs off him last Wednesday in six innings in what ended up being a 6-5 loss to the Mets in 10 innings. Let’s hope for continued success off one of the better pitchers in the National League in Syndergaard. He features a 2.00 ERA and even lower 1.84 FIP with a stupid good 11.2 SO/9 while only walking 12 batters in 76 plus innings.
Jeff Locke hasn’t pitched since being hung out to dry in Coors Field during the one-game bullshit makeup game. Locke was hammered for 11 runs in just 4.2 innings as he stuck on the mound trying to save an already worn bullpen. It’ll be interesting to see how Locke responds after that awful outing against the Rockies. Prior to that start, Locke was actually putting together a decent season by his standards. Throw out that start and the start in San Diego and Locke has a 3.34 ERA on the season. Of course, those bad starts did happen and that’s where you get Locke’s unappealing 5.38 ERA. Locke has faced the Mets three times in his career (4.20 ERA) and oddly enough all three starts against the have come in Citi Field same as tonight’s game.
Oh, and Erik Kratz is in the lineup tonight behind the plate. Kratz began his career with the Pirates back in 2010, playing in nine games with them as a rookie. The 36-year-old catcher has played sparingly for five teams throughout his career and owns a 0.5 WAR in 594 career plate appearances.
Pirates lineup tonight: